Students Lean Into Discomfort At Monthly “Food for Thought” Diversity Discussion Group

Fifth and sixth grade students at New City School are choosing to spend their lunch and recess breaks discussing diversity-related topics. The group is called “Food for Thought”, and it was formed with the goal of making the New City School community a more inclusive and welcoming place through discussion and mutual understanding.

New City School has a long history of fostering conversations about diversity, and encourages all students, faculty, staff, and community members to “lean into discomfort” when broaching difficult topics. The “Food for Thought” group provides our older students with a safe place to discuss topics that they might otherwise find uncomfortable. In order to create a consistent, trusting community, students are required to make a commitment to attend every monthly meeting.

Sixth grader Kendall Minta is enjoying her time in the discussion group. She sees it as a safe time and place to share opinions and learn more about how other people feel. “I like ‘Food for Thought’ because you can express how you feel about diversity without anyone getting offended or upset. Many people don’t have the opportunity to share opinions like this. It really helps with communication.” said Minta.

“I’m always amazed and encouraged when I see more than half of our 5th and 6th grade students voluntarily give up their coveted lunch and recess time to engage in meaningful discussions about race, class, and sexual orientation.” said Stephanie Teachout, Director of Diversity and fifth-grade teacher. “These are kids that are coming of age ‘post-Ferguson,’ and it is so important for them to have an opportunity to find their own voice in these conversations.” Stephanie co-facilitates the “Food for Thought” group with sixth-grade teacher, Linda Churchwell-Varga.