Cornerstone: an Alliance of Students and Families of Color
Blake defines "diversity" as the facets of race, ethnicity, national origin, geography, religion, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, age, physical ability, and marital, parental or economic status of any and all individuals. We celebrate diversity in its many forms because it is our steadfast belief that multiple perspectives and experiences are core to educational excellence and strengthen a school community. We also believe that in light of today's increasingly multicultural society, that developing cultural competency* is crucial to being an informed, well-rounded world citizen, one who values the individual while working cooperatively with others.
While Blake is addressing the overall challenges of building a more successful, culturally competent pluralistic community, we are committed to supporting all students to be personally successful. The Center for Diversity addresses many of these issues for the Pre-K through grade 12 community. At the Upper School, the Cornerstone program provides an additional program to support students of color at Blake.
*cultural competency = the will and the ability to create authentic and effective relationships across differences, Gary Howard
What is Cornerstone?
Cornerstone, an Alliance of Students and Families of Color is a PK – 12 program that works closely with students and parents and collaboratively with the school’s faculty, staff and administration to insure the retention and thriving of students of color at each division. The program is in the sixth year at upper school and its first year in the lower and middles schools. . Cornerstone provides programming and support that allows students to succeed academically, socially, and culturally and to achieve their potential at Blake and beyond.
At each division, Cornerstone works in developmentally appropriate ways to help students:
- Identify and negotiate the socio-cultural norms at Blake.
- Develop a positive racial identity.
- Become culturally competent.
- Learn methods to work against racism and white privilege.
- Develop and practice leadership skills.
- Succeed academically.
- Make connections with adults (within Blake and in the larger community) who act as role models, teachers, and mentors, and
- Find community and support so they feel emotionally safe and can thus focus on being successful students, fully engaged at Blake and in other communities.
Cornerstone helps navigate the colliding of cultures, which has and will continue to occur, as Blake becomes a more diverse school fulfilling it’s promise of pluralism and global citizenship. Students of color and their families both adapt to and change the school. Likewise, as Blake’s demographics shift, Cornerstone works to help the institution become more effective at identifying norms and practices it needs to change in order to serve its emerging, more inclusive community.