02/01/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

FORUM/Diversity 2017 Recap

Dr. Cornel west delivers keynote address to large group of people at conference Stay connected with CS&A

Hosting our third-annual Diversity FORUM this past Saturday, January 28 in Philadelphia was an immense honor for us. It's hard to believe that only three years ago, our idea to bring together diverse educators from around the country for a hiring and professional development event has grown this much. We couldn't have gotten this far without the incredible dedication of our candidates and schools who come together each year united around improving diversity and inclusion in schools, as well as the support from our honorary faculty who led enlightening discussions and panels, and our keynote speaker Dr. Cornel West. It was quite an event this third time around!

To welcome attendees, Devereaux McClatchey, President of CS&A, spoke to the largest Diversity FORUM crowd yet with an inspiring and honest address. He emphasized that while we at CS&A do not claim to be experts in diversity, we feel it's crucial — especially considering the tumultuous state of our nation — that we serve as a conduit for continued conversation around this increasingly important topic.

After an introduction from Ada McElroy, Placement Associate, our keynote speaker took the stage to thunderous applause. Dr. Cornel West's exhilarating address moved and motivated the crowd as he spoke about the role we all play in confronting what he calls “catastrophic circumstances” that are surrounding us today. Dr. West charged us, as educators, to provide students with concrete examples, not just discourse, of hope — to enact it in our classrooms and our communities. Justice, he says, “is what love looks like in public.”

The morning continued with our hiring event and professional development panels, held concurrently. A record number of interviews took place during the course of the day, as eager candidates met with hiring contacts from schools and organizations from around the country. At the same time, all attendees had the opportunity to attend one of our six panels facilitated by a talented group of honorary faculty members representing a variety of schools and organizations. Topics ran the gamut from building inclusive communities, retaining a diverse faculty and staff, and tackling how to address difficult topics with students.

Between interviews and panel sessions, attendees enthusiastically contributed to our community art project entitled “Being An Ally.” Each participant had a Polaroid photo taken of him or herself, then used the space underneath the photo to write a word or phrase related to being an ally. The photos were then hung on a homemade wooden structure, where everyone could see and be inspired by what others added to the piece.

We walked away from this special event feeling empowered, humbled, and inspired, both as allies in our greater community but also as people passionate about education in independent schools. Thank you to everyone who joined us this year!

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