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.
Pollyanna designed the Intra-Conference as an institutional capacity-building and excavating tool for schools wanting to deepen their knowledge, enhance practices and improve skills in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The very nature of the Intra-Conference, its emphasis on Pollyanna’s motto Every Voice Matters brings a school together and establishes and strengthens community connections. The conference informs the community and provides a platform for sharing personal experiences, expressing opinions and perspectives, and generating ideas and solutions for growth. This results in an enthusiasm and a strong desire for informed Aspirational Action by the school community.
Aspirational Action is successful when it is owned and led by school community members. Pollyanna’s goal is to ensure that positive and sustainable capacity-building approaches to the work of inclusive practice becomes institutionalized within a school so that year-to-year as demographics evolve and the community widens, approaches continue to be relevant, inviting and engaging. Aspirational Action ideally picks up shortly after the Intra-Conference. Pollyanna helps structure retreats for small and large groups, co-designs DEI projects with metrics and starts down the path of creating goals for the school year where they can be held accountable, and in-process data and results will be collected and shared with the community to highlight how the needle is moving on respective initiatives. Regardless of how a school decides to approach Aspirational Action, Pollyanna serves as facilitators the entire way.
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 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.”