The NAIS People of Color Conference
The NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC) is the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools' commitment to equity and justice in teaching, learning, and organizational development. The mission of the conference is to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.
The conference includes pre-conference seminars, general sessions with keynotes, dozens of practitioner-led workshops, extensive affinity group work, and dialogue sessions.
From the First National Conference for Teachers and Administrators of Color in Independent Schools in Reston, Virginia, in 1986, to the 31st People of Color of Color Conference in Nashville, TN, this event is distinct among professional development experiences in the national education landscape. PoCC supports the complex dynamics of independent school life and culture and the varied roles people of color play and experience in these settings.
In 2006, the NAIS board affirmed that PoCC be “designed for people of color as it relates to their roles in independent schools. Its programming should include offerings that support people of color as they pursue strategies for success and leadership. Its focus should be on providing a sanctuary and networking opportunity for people of color and allies in independent schools as we build and sustain inclusive school communities.”
Practically, this mission means that unlike most independent school settings, the majority of the PoCC attendees and presenters are people of color. The wisdom and perspective of people of color tends to be a “minority” view in independent schools (and other businesses and organizations in the U.S. particularly), despite the fact that people of color comprise a world majority. Because of this, the NAIS People of Color Conference offers attendees the empowering experience of an interactional space that more closely mirrors world racial and ethnic demography, and the professional development scope and vision necessary to refocus their work and learning through an equity perspective.