The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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DEIB Column: Iman Stultz and Carmelo Larose Take on Role as New Heads of Upper School DEIB


In our first issue including a section for DEIB, I wrote to one of the new Co-coordinators of DEIB, Director of Campus Library Services, Ms. Stultz.  Read more to learn to learn about her role in DEIB at Poly. A Q and A with Mr. Larose will come next issue. 

How did you come to be involved with DEIB at Poly?

Part of my job as a librarian is to ensure that we constantly promote diversity and equity of access. During my first year at Poly, I was a Middle School Librarian and wanted to use my acquired skill set and experience to enhance student life, so I started HBCU Week with the support of our former DEIB Director and helped coordinate MS Affinity Group cross-collaboration. When Poly’s DEIB Department was restructured last year, I served as a Conferences and Special Events Co-coordinator and on the DEIB Newsletter committee. Over the years, I worked with students and faculty to promote DEIB at the library through collection development, book, and digital displays (for instance, land acknowledgment of the Lenape Nation during Native American Heritage Month), programming such as virtual author visits with Chandra Prescod-Weinstein and Victoria Christopher-Murray, and in-person with YA author Camryn Garrett. We themed our inaugural Libraryoke: Rainbow Edition program in honor of Pride Month. I have also continued HBCU Week, adding a new afterschool event called PHAM (Poly HBCU Alumni Mixer) last year, and our recent programming this past October. 

Did you have experience with DEIB while you were in school or in a previous position?

Stultz: Librarianship is heavily steeped in DEIB work. In my most recent position prior to Poly, I worked for Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), first as a Children’s Librarian, serving the NYC public and becoming active in a number of committees and projects, eventually organizing BPL employees through Slack after George Floyd’s murder, which led to organization-wide forums that resulted in the formation of BPL’s Diversity Council, on which I served as one of the founding members. I also served as BPL’s Civic Engagement Manager, which involved a lot of community programming and collaboration with nonprofits, elected officials, and other NYC library systems.

How is your role different from Ms. Freeman’s and how do you work together as a team to lead these efforts?

Coordinators are members of the DEIB Department who work under the leadership of the Director, Mrs. Freeman. The Upper School DEIB team consists of two Co-coordinators (myself and Mr. Larose), and fellow Department members, Mr. Eddie Fitzgerald and Ms. Fannie Santana. The Co-Coordinators liaise with US Affinity and Alliance groups and their Faculty advisors and the US DEIB team collaborates to develop DEIB discussion group plans. We work together on all US DEIB programming, with input from Mrs. Freeman. Ms. Freeman is in charge of the DEIB Department, which means she works with the Coordinators of the respective schools and the entire DEIB Department to facilitate and build all of Poly’s DEIB programming and manages all Upper, Middle, and Lower School DEIB initiatives. 

Why do you think DEIB is important at Poly?

DEIB is important for achieving an equitable society as a whole. Poly’s guiding principles are diversity, the pursuit of excellence, and community. We have a diverse community of students, parents, and staff, and we want everyone to feel that they belong by discovering our commonalities, acknowledging our differences in positive ways, and celebrating what makes us unique. DEIB also allows the Poly community to define and uphold equitable practices and encourages us to come together under common identities, interests, and goals. 

How is DEIB different at Poly compared to other private or public schools? Do you meet with the DEIB heads of other schools?

Through conferences and professional development, I’ve learned that each school has its own unique DEIB practices, which can adjust from year to year. I hope to meet with other DEIB coordinators at upcoming conferences like the NAIS People of Color Conference and the NYSAIS Diversity Symposium.

How do you help oversee the different affinity groups?

We support the Affinity and Alliance groups by maintaining an open channel of communication between the US DEIB team and the student leaders and faculty advisors of these groups.  The Upper School DEIB team works together to meet with student leaders and advisors; Mr. Larose and I liaise between the DEIB team, students, Mrs. Freeman, US Faculty, and Mr. Winston to align communication and program logistics.

How do you think the DEIB program can improve?

Stultz: I think that as a school community, we can all benefit from more opportunities to collaborate, be that through professional development for staff, student workshops, or joint Affinity group meetings. We’ve also received a lot of feedback from students and faculty about the DEIB block, and our team is working toward making favorable adjustments. 

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