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Freshman Workshop Addresses Educational Disparities
Meghan Podimsky

On January 27, the freshman class took a break from classes to attend their Freshman Class Social Justice Workshop. Each year, Delbarton freshmen attend two morning workshops throughout the school year that are devoted to an important social justice issue as our upperclassmen take ninth graders under their wings and lead them through the workshop. This year's workshop explores the issue of educational inequalities and their effects on people’s lives, expectations, experiences, and outlook.

The School takes the concepts of human rights and equality seriously, and the Freshman Social Justice Workshop process is an opportunity for Delbarton to focus more attention on an issue than the standard curriculum affords. A unique dimension is that younger members of our community are taught by upperclassmen, older brothers who use their personal knowledge and experiences to bridge the gap between a more evolved view of masculinity, and a typical 9th grader's life experience. Those few years count, and the younger boys generally respect the opinions and observations of their older peers.

Today's Workshop began in the FAC, where upperclassmen welcomed the younger boys and explained how the morning was going to go. Next, the Class of 2026 separated into four groups, and each group rotated among the FAC Auditorium, Media Room, Hayes Room, Spada Commons and Band Room where boys were greeted by teams of upperclassmen presenting and leading discussions. Some of these discussion topics include Affirmative Action and Legacy Admissions, Public vs. Private Universities, School-Prison Pipeline, Standardized Testing, and Technology's Impact on Learning. They shared facts, observations and opinions while encouraging 9th graders to share their views to contribute to the conversation too.

To wrap up the workshop, Mr. Charles Clark P'23, father of Trey Clark '23, joined the underclassmen via Zoom in the auditorium. As a Teaneck Board of Education member, Mr. Clark discussed the difficulties the COVID pandemic had on the district and how it has impacted student learning.