The ALLy Program
at St. Paul's School for Girls
A strong unselfish commitment to SPSG is evident among the women and men who signed up to be an ALLy. This program gives those of us who are interested another avenue in which we can invest more of our spirit and care to the school community.
Charlotte Smith, Middle School Dean of Students, Science Teacher
Last spring, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities trained 19 members of SPSG faculty and staff to be ALLies in the SPSG community. The goal of the program is to make SPSG socially, emotionally, and culturally safe for every member of our school community. Each ALLy did extensive work on his or her own social identifiers and his or her resulting social location. The group discovered that good will is necessary but sometimes not sufficient to ensure that everyone feels included in a vibrant and diverse community like our school.
Committing time and emotional resources to developing the ALLy program has been a large part of the ALLy meetings subsequent to the weekend retreat, which was held last year. The ALLy program supplements our other student support programs such as Advisory, Peer Education, and Group Facilitation, adding one more layer to our system to ensure openness, equity, and safety for each member of the community.
My first thought when I heard about ally training was, “I consider myself an ally already, so do I really need to be trained?” But then I remembered my experience as part of a white affinity group last year where I closely examined my white privilege. Realizing that I had never given much intentional thought about being white for much of my life, I became concerned that I was engaging in unintentional acts that were racially-biased or prejudiced. Ally training made me think more about how my social identifiers influence my actions and those around me. It made me look more closely at the policies and procedures of the institutions with which I am aligned. Ally training impacted my growth as a human being; it was truly enlightening and I strongly encourage others to participate in it.
- Debbie Awalt, Associate Director of Admission and Parent Liaison
What is an ALLy?
An ALLy is a person trained to have ears opened and not to judge. An ALLy:
Is a member of a dominant group who uses his/her power to stand up for someone who either cannot speak for him/herself or who will not be heard even if that person does speak up.
I became an ALLy because I wanted to help. I wanted to be a resource. I didn’t want any girl to feel lost and that they didn’t have anyone to talk to. With school suicides and bullying becoming more prevalent in our society, I want to make sure our girls have every resource possible to use. I don’t want OUR girls to become just another statistic who got lost in the shuffle.
- Shannon Gibson, Human Resources Manager, Spanish Teacher
I strongly feel that our students, faculty and staff should feel that SPSG provides a safe and supportive environment regardless of our differences.
- Lynda Davidson, Administrative Assistant to the Academic Dean, Parent Liaison, and Business Office, School Receptionist
How can you find an ALLy?
Bulletin boards with pictures of ALLies and the location of their offices are located opposite the Chapel, near the upper-school office, and near the middle- school office. Each ALLy has the ALLy symbol in his or her office space.
Who can talk to an ALLy?
Any member of the community who wants to talk with an ALLy can approach an ALLy individually and talk openly about a concern, issue, or problem. You can also email email@example.com. If the concern involves clear danger of harm to self or others, it will be referred to the school counselor, who will follow the required protocol.
How can I become an ALLy?
Training for students will be held on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in the Commons
Training for faculty and staff who wish will be held on Saturday, January 29, 2011, in the Commons.
How can I get more information?
Contact an ALLy or Jeanne Blakeslee, Director of Diversity and Leadership Education, firstname.lastname@example.org or 443.632.1032