Professional Development Schedule

There's so much in store during the professional development portion of FORUM/DEIB.

This year, we are grateful to welcome educators, diversity practitioners, and school leaders from across the country. As an attendee of FORUM/DEIB, you're invited to get inspired by their stories, best practices, and advice and empowered to bring lessons and learning back to your school communities.

All times are listed in Eastern Time. Schedule is subject to change.


Friday, January 27             Saturday, January 28

8:00-9:30 AM

Welcome and Keynote Address CS&A Staff and Keynote Speaker Michael Tennant (Learn about Michael.)

Block 1 – 10:00-11:15 AM

Title Presented By Description
Session 1 Using Participant Anthropology to Explore the DEIJB – The Ecotone of Culture Tom Oden, Anna McCorvey, The Atwy International School; Marlon Hall, visual anthropologist/storytelling griot/yogi
The Awty International School invited artist and anthropologist Marlon Hall to be in residence at the school and explore conceptions of DEIJB in thought and deed. He had free rein to decide what to focus on and ended up completing three inquiry-based projects across lower, middle, and upper school. We will share new insights from Marlon's work including his belief that “the goal is not inclusivity; the goal is authenticity.” We'll also explore his model of cultural ecotones and how they map to a deeper understanding of DEIJB opportunities.
Session 2 A Seat at the Grown-Up Table: Two Young Administrators of Color Reflect on Navigating Infantilization, Combatting Tokenization, and Seeking Empowerment Raheem Jackson, Iiyannaa Graham-Siphanoum; Western Reserve Academy
Are you a young or aspiring administrator of color that is seeking tools to help navigate the challenges that come with the transition? Or, are you an administrator or school leader that is committed to sustaining an equitable and diverse administrative team that positions all to effectively serve your students and school’s needs? Join us in this session as we draw on both our own experiences and literature to offer perspective and insights on fostering a work environment that is conducive to the inclusion, growth, and development of young administrators of color.
Participants will interrogate the question: How might organizations avoid the pitfalls of typecasting, marginalizing, and tokenizing as they begin to create administrative teams and processes that reflect the racial diversity of their student body and applicant pools?
This session will explore various aspects of school life including: onboarding and continued support; mentorship and sponsorship; racial stress and social isolation; as well as fair and equitable workloads.
Session 3 Keeping Yourself 100: How You as a BIPOC Educator Can Bring Your Authentic Self to Your School Community Mason West; Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School BIPOC educators struggle with imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, institutional bias, and isolation as they seek to bring their authentic selves to their educational communities. This can be especially challenging in independent schools. This workshop will take participants through a process that will help them rediscover who they are and what they bring to the communities they serve. Session participants will gain a new sense of who they are and their value to the independent school world. Allies who participate will gain an understanding of the value they miss when they do not create spaces for their colleagues to be their authentic selves.

Block 2 – 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

Title Presented By Description
Session 1 From Lemons to Lemonade Ria Maxwell, Glen Turf, Lucy Prosper; Miami Country Day School Follow Miami Country Day School's recipe to create an office of Global Initiatives, Equity, and Belonging. This has moved us from chaos and discord to collaborative understanding. Of course, we will share the roadblocks and stumbling blocks encountered on the path and what we did to move forward.
Session 2 LGBTQIA++ in Independent Schools: Carrying Your Letters to Live, Teach, and Lead – Reflections and Strategies for Wholeness and Success Chris Boyle, Heather Flewelling, Liam Gluck; Carney, Sandoe & Associates The session will use a combination of personal sharing, trends, and strategies to engage participants in conversation related to the experience of LGBTQIA++ educators in independent schools.  The session will discuss how schools can create communities that support LGBTQIA++ educators and move their communities to have better structures, systems, and education around the experience of LGBTQIA++ people in our schools. The session will be sensitive to addressing the needs of LGBTQIA++ session members and the needs of administrators hoping to be more thoughtful and successful in their work to address things on a systemic level.

Block 3 – 1:00-2:15 PM

Title Presented By
Session 1 Be Who YOU Are: Joy and Affirmation in the Work Priscilla Morales, The Park School; David Thompson, The Bishop's School; Chéleah Googe, Breck School
Gaslighting, race-lighting, and emotional walls can take joy from being authentic at work. How do you show up as your full self? Can you? Can you share of your personal experiences, be open and authentic with your identities, seek affirmation and affinity with others? Why or why not? This session will share the stories of professionals who've learned how to show up as their full selves in the community and will offer tips and reminders to session attendees. Attendees will have moments in small groups to join one another in discussion about how they continue to grow personally through their work and school communities.
Session 2 Resisting Racism: Diversity, Equity, Catholicism, and Inclusion in Independent Schools Rebekah Adens, Merion Mercy Academy; Danielle Suber, Malvern Preparatory School Diversity, equity, and inclusion engages layers of complexity when striving to build a positive inclusive school culture. Religious communities add an additional consideration in the way school culture is approached. Unique considerations include engaging external entities, like the church, and taking their significant role in the implementation of inclusion and belonging as a key driver or impediment. With an examination on the differences in practices at two single-sex schools, this session will explore the challenges facing independent Catholic schools and ways in which schools can move DEI work forward as a testament to their mission.

Block 4 – 2:30-3:45 PM

Title Presented By
Session 1 Doing REAL Math Joao Gomes; Agnes Irwin School “Why do we need to know this?” is an important question. Textbooks are full of contrived word problems that do more harm than good in this regard. While there are some resources for incorporating civics and social justice into the math classroom, they often don't quite fit. In this workshop, you will learn about what goes into preparing your own math lessons to incorporate civics and social justice in a meaningful and organic way.
Session 2 Follow Me But Not Too Close: Digital Footprints and Hiring Diego Duran-Medina; Tahoe Expedition Academy Your digital footprint follows you everywhere you go, and is especially important when applying for new positions. How does one think about our digital footprint when applying to schools? What do hiring committees need to know about researching applicants' digital footprints? How do we think about our digital lives and how they affect recruitment and hiring?


Saturday, January 28

Morning Session – 8:30-9:15 AM

Title Presented By Description
  “What Are You Asking Me?” How to Analyze, Adjust, and Amplify the Role of Questions in the Interview Process Brandon Jacobs, Seliat Dairo; Carney, Sandoe & Associates There are many components to hiring including job postings, recruitment, interviews, campus visits, and more. However, the central component often underestimated and overlooked in the hiring process is the power of questioning. Most only start thinking about questions in crafting the interview experience, but inquiry is important to understand what the community may need with the growth of the school. In this session, attendees will participate in an interactive workshop that will dig deep into the process of assessing how their schools craft the right interview questions, how you can shape who the best people to ask questions, and how you build appropriate tools to assess the answers to these questions.

Block 1 – 10:00-11:15 AM

Title Presented By Description
Session 1 Spaces are Places for Belonging Carrie Grimes; Vanderbilt University, Peabody College The ways in which we physically array spaces within our schools has been under-considered as having a significant impact on organizational capacity for developing and enhancing community. Research pertaining to educational architectural design and the built environment evidence will be offered to provide school leaders with a better toolkit for understanding the ways in which the landscape of our campuses, particularly gathering spaces, directly drives climate and belongingness outcomes within our schools. We will explore the compelling case that being more scientific about the small details of our facilities and big picture of our campus architecture can shift messaging to communities, behaviors within community spaces, and contribute to positive outcomes related to the school environment and stakeholder wellbeing. Key tools and takeaways that leadership teams can readily apply to their campuses will also be provided.
Session 2 Relational and Institutional Reimagining of the Stories of Our Boys of Color Dwight Vidale; Collegiate School In this interactive workshop, participants will have an opportunity to first name and discuss the current narrative about boys of color at their current institution or in independent schools more generally. Afterwards, we will explore ways that we can, from a relational and institutional perspective, reimagine and rewrite that story, focusing on getting to know our boys of color and partnering with them to get them closer to their potential. This conversation will strengthen the participants understanding of belonging and provide ideas on how we can deepen that sense for our boys of color.
Session 3 Stop the Revolving Door: Strategies to Affirm, Support, and Retain BIPOC Educators in the Independent School Space Tiphanie Gilmore Edwards, Sheridan School; Donnette Echols, Potomac School Most people agree with the importance of representation in all learning spaces. As schools seek to bolster a sense of belonging and stem the potential loss of diverse talent, it is critically important for all educators, but especially school leaders, to understand the experiences of BIPOC educators in predominantly white institutions. In this session, you'll get a better understanding of how to navigate “belonging barriers,” along with practical ways to authentically explore and transform systemic practices that stand in the way of true belonging.

Block 2 – 11:30 AM-12:45 PM

Title Presented By
Session 1 A Holistic Approach to DEIB Integration in Your Community Sumant Bhat; Stanley British Primary School At Stanley British Primary School in Denver, we are committed to infusing DEIB practices throughout our community. This include everything from annual DEIB and anti bias training for every new board member and faculty/staff member to hiring practices that will attract more faculty and staff of color to curriculum and creating a statement of inclusion, the most transformative inclusion work in schools only can only occur when it’s a lens that all constituents are invested in.
Session 2 Time for Change: Creating Space for Faculty Growth Raquel Majeski; Lawrence Academy Time is a valuable resource, and there is never enough of it – especially at a boarding school. This session will explore how we made time for our faculty to receive specific DEIBJ professional growth and created spaces for collegiality.
Session 3 School Traditions: A Protocol for Assessing Inclusivity and Belonging Meredith Godley, Dorothy Lopez; Moorestown Friends School Join us for a deep exploration into the inclusivity of independent school traditions. Using a protocol developed by our administrative team, we will share our journey to adjust a long-standing tradition at our school, May Day, through a lens of belonging. Participants will have the opportunity to analyze one of their school traditions using our protocol, and consider ways to make changes that allow a greater sense of belonging for the entire community.


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