United in Authenticity

The school community came together to share a full week's celebration of Pride 2023 based around the theme “United in Authenticity.”

Pride Week 2023 formally kicked off with a Morning Ex featuring a sit-down conversation with educator, speaker, diversity practitioner and Sandy Springs Friends School Head of School Dr. Rodney Glasgow and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at and Principal Consultant for the Glasgow Group John Gentile. Assistant Principal Priyanka Rupani led the two guests through a discussion exploring the theme “A Prideful Joy Resilience is our Power.” Gentile and Glasgow spoke honestly and informatively about their respective journeys in life and how it has shaped their thoughts and belief today.

Late that evening, parents and guardians joined Glasgow and Gentile for a workshop focused on gender identity entitled, “Pronouns, Proper Names and Preconceived Notions: Parenting in a Gender Expansive World,” followed by a reception for LGBTQIA+ families hosted by Parker's Queer Faculty Staff Committee.

Lower School classrooms reviewed the book The Very First You by Scott Stuart and hosted a special Lower School Pride Morning Ex on Wednesday to share what they have been exploring and thinking about. Head of Lower School Kimeri Swanson-Beck explained the phrase “united in authenticity” in a way that would resonate with these young minds. SK-La Rue kicked off the student sharing portion with a talk about pride and discussed things that recently made them feel proud. Next, 1-Joebgen read the book I Am Me: A Book of Authenticity by Susan Verde. Lower School Spanish teacher Valentina Correa showed the audience a vocabulary game she plays with 2nd graders in which the students discussed stereotypes and how to identify them. Next, 2-Coll designed Personal Pride Flags and explained their power. Finally, 2-Wild sang (and led the audience in singing) “What a Wonderful World.”

Intermediate School students shared a number of short videos and picture books to celebrate Parker’s LGBTQIA+ community and Friday’s Morning Ex about the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement.

Students in the Middle School Pride Alliance decorated the third floor, Kovler Family Library and adjacent hallways to add to the spirit of celebration. The library featured a button-making station for people to wear their Pride, Pride flags and book displays of LGBTQIA+ characters and authors. Pride Alliance sponsors also shared a “Did you know?” slideshow with advisories to ensure every student began each day that week with information to broaden their understanding about the community.

Middle and Upper School students also attended Morning Exes on Monday and Friday that sought to educate the community on the history of LGBTQIA+ rights and the importance of inclusivity.

In addition to participating in the Monday and Friday Morning Exes, Upper School students found myriad ways to honor Pride. Each day of the week featured a different color of the rainbow flag to help students support the cause with their attire. Pride-themed sweet treats were available throughout the week, and special events included:
  • a nail-painting and crown-making activity
  • an affinity lunch for students and adults that identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community
  • a teach-in on anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation currently at play in the U.S.
  • a field trip to the Legacy Walk
This week-long effort emphasize Parker’s drive to support students as they continue their journey to becoming responsible, empathetic, courageous and informed citizens.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.