Community Facilitators: A Driving Force for Positive Change

Community Facilitators: A Driving Force for Positive Change

The Community Facilitator role is an important student leadership position at Governor's. Students in this group are expected to be engaged voices for social justice issues on campus. The group meets weekly to discuss current events happening both on the Governor’s campus and outside the Academy. Community facilitators plan events for our community and engage in ongoing facilitator training on various issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. 

Community Facilitators are students truly committed to the program and willing to work as a group to promote an atmosphere of respect and acceptance on campus for all members of our community. Commitment, genuine care, and the willingness to listen and learn are what make great facilitators.

The group is led by English Teacher and Student Diversity Coordinator Monica Kirschmann who says of the facilitators, “Their task is to be leaders for change in the community. They are leaders in classrooms and affinity spaces. It’s a good leadership opportunity for kids for whom equity, inclusion, and justice work is really important. Some use what they learn as Community Facilitators to create an independent study or give workshops at conferences.”

To be a Community Facilitator, students need to express interest in DEI, write an essay, and have a conversation with Kirschmann, who then selects the students who would be the best representatives and leadership figures in the role. Typically, there are about 15 Community Facilitators made up of tenth, eleventh, and twelfth-grade students. Facilitators start their training before school begins in September and immerse themselves in the work to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Community conversations are an important part of the role, and community facilitators have hosted many this year—typically one a month. These community conversations can be tied to a Convocation or a speaker who has come to campus. In November, the group hosted a forum called “Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions.'' Participants learned what microaggressions look like through a gallery walk, heard about their peers’ experiences during a fishbowl discussion, and had the chance to talk in small breakout groups guided by student Community Facilitators.

In February, Community Facilitators hosted a conversation about “Women in Culture,” using examples like Barbie, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé. Laya Raju ‘25, one of the facilitators for this community conversation, said, “It was so valuable to celebrate women who inspire us, as well as hold space for some of the more difficult conversations that come with it. It was exciting that Community Facilitators were able to help cultivate that space and conversation at Govs!”

In March, facilitators hosted a talk about identity and culture called “Salad Bowl or Melting Pot?” The conversation focused on these two powerful metaphors sometimes used to describe American society. Participants explored where those metaphors came from, what they mean to us today, and how individual identities fit into broader American culture.

Other community conversations included topics like the LGBTQ+ experience at Govs and the power of language to help create a supportive, inclusive school community.

Community Facilitators are also offered the opportunity to attend the People of Color Conference, the High School Students of Color Conference, and participate in workshops to deepen their understanding of the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

Community Facilitator Eva Bockoff ‘25 explained how being a facilitator has helped her develop a robust understanding of issues surrounding our community and society: “I’m grateful to learn how we, as students and young people, can be a driving force for positive and necessary change towards a more equitable and just future.”