Pollyanna creates discussion platforms for groups of people to explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion; and to share experiences and knowledge. We believe in being eternally optimistic even in the face of challenge. Pollyanna exists to be part of the solution.
Ellen Stein, Dalton School
“Having discussions by constituent group allows for sharing the wisdom in the room. Coming together as a school POD and hearing from all the groups enables the development of the Action Plan, which you then bring back to your school to start implementing change.”
Erica Corbin, Chapin School
“It is an incredibly moving and inspiring experience to see students strategize with senior administrators, trustees, and their current or former teachers about ways to make a better school.”
Amy Ziebarth, Far Brook School
“This conference is my beacon of hope while we are going through a difficult time in our country.”
REFLECTIONS FROM CONFERENCES
The From Diversity to Community Conference, launched in 2011 at The Dalton School in New York City, is a daylong interactive program to train school leaders to broaden inclusion in and outside of the classroom. Schools in close geographic proximity come together for the day, wrestle with common problems and share the collective wisdom. Pollyanna has created a template for independent schools that will enable a school to replicate and customize the Conference in cities around the United States and around the world.
The full-day Conference is hosted by one school in a geographic region, and aims to promote action and strengthen leadership by deepening the conversation, addressing challenges, sharing effective practices and generating positive steps. The goal is to improve inclusion within schools and the understanding that racial, socioeconomic, religious and sexual diversity enhances all elements of our schools. Each school attending the Conference sends a group of community members called a POD, which includes two members from each constituency: administrators, alumni, diversity coordinators, faculty, parents, students and trustees. The day runs as follows: • Following a welcome and a keynote address, schools meet in their own peer constituent group to share challenges and effective practices around the Conference topic. To jumpstart the potentially difficult conversations, participants are given a list of provocative comments or assumptions that reflect the day-to-day impact of diversity challenges. • After lunch, the students have a voice. Student attendees share concrete recommendations with all conference attendees to help make schools more sensitive to differences. • Once the student share-out is finished, each School POD then meets as its own group to debrief the morning, and create an Action Plan that can be taken back to their school to begin implementing change. Host schools pay a fee to Pollyanna that includes a Project Manager who will guide the school throughout the process. Documents associated with one of the Conference topics: race, leadership, LGBTQ, socioeconomics, intersectionality, white engagement and privilege will be provided as part of the fee. These documents include: survey and interview questions, icebreakers, logistical plans, budgets and facilitator scripts. Contact us to learn more.
Act on your school’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and make visible the priority by hosting a community-building conference for schools in your region.
Deepening the conversation with your neighboring schools, share knowledge and strengthen the community in order to create a more equitable school.
Creating a Generation of Inclusive Leaders
School Transitions: The K-8 Experience
Shaping & Sustaining Safe Schools for LGBTQ Community
Race • Privilege • Community Building
Cultivating Racial Awareness and White Engagement
Raising Empathy & Taking Action
Pollyanna has introduced a new Intra-School Conference model that is for one school’s constituent members to come together to address potential strategic planning initiatives, assess mission statements, focus on community building, etc. Please click here if you’d like more information.
Pollyanna received a foundation grant of $130,000 to research, create, test and distribute a K-8 curriculum on racial literacy. We are looking for test schools. Click here if your school is interested.
Bodie Brizendine, Spence School
“Thank you for providing such an opportunity for all of our schools, not only to work among the many fine schools represented but also within our own walls.”
Stephen Warner, Allen-Stevenson
“The seeds for many of our diversity initiatives have been planted at this conference.”
Sandra Chapman, LREI
“We enjoyed sharing resources, strategies, ideas and challenging moments we have overcome.”