Each year, faculty and staff engage in an intensive, week-long orientation to prepare for the upcoming school year. Campus-wide discussions about summer reading selections often take place during this time, and this year IMS had the unique opportunity to explore White Picket Fences—a book about love in a world divided by privilege—directly with the author. 

Amy Julia Becker, a resident of Washington, Conn., opened up about her personal experiences with privilege—primarily related to race, socioeconomics, and ability—and the revelations she had as a mother about her own upbringing. Mrs. Becker reflected on the ways in which her childhood in the South, time at boarding school in the Northeast, and graduation from an Ivy league school shaped her perception of the world. Just as Amy Julia did at various stages throughout her life, she encouraged faculty and staff to challenge the messages they’ve been told and ask questions about what privileges they might have—even unknowingly. 


The result of this exercise was a conversation that demanded openness and a desire to learn. It enabled the IMS community to look inward at personal experiences, as well as our roles within the school, our community, and the world. How can we become better as individuals? What blind spots do we have? How can we contribute to the growth of IMS? Who does our school belong to? These thought-provoking questions were explored during break-out sessions throughout the morning. Together, the community addressed current and future needs pertaining to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and talked about the many ways we can carry these conversations into the coming school year and beyond—not only from a philosophical standpoint, but as ideas with clear action steps. 

Amy Julia Becker’s visit was part of our ongoing commitment to examine diversity, equity, and inclusion at our school and within our community. Recently, we named Shantel Hanniford as our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; she will oversee this critically important work. Read about it here: IMS Announces First Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion