​Enrich your PoCC experience by joining us on Wednesday, December 7, for special pre-conference equity seminars. You can register for these events when you complete your PoCC registration online. Register now.

Full Day Pre-Conference Equity Seminars

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
$195 (includes a light breakfast; lunch is on your own)
TICKET REQUIRED: Sign up for any of these optional seminars when you register for PoCC. (These seminars are for adult PoCC participants only, not SDLC participants.)
The PoCC Leadership Seminar for People of Color and Women
Amani Reed, Head of School, The School at Columbia University (NY)
Joe-Joe McManus, Executive Director, Rootstrong

Gain powerful strategies to help you advance to the next level of leadership. This seminar, tailored for people of color and women, will employ the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders Profile. It’s a premier research-based skills inventory that will provide you with a deeper understanding of your individual leadership strengths and style.

This year’s seminar will also introduce a dynamic session with Rootstrong, an organization focused on excellence in multicultural leadership education and development. By exploring the Rootstrong leadership model, you will learn how your cultural roots inform your strengths. You’ll also find out how competencies ranging from professional excellence to cultural humility prove critical for local, organizational, and global leadership.

This unique seminar offers state-of-the-art leadership development strategies, in-the-moment leadership coaching, and peer exchange and feedback. The encouraging atmosphere is designed to nurture and propel a compelling vision for fulfilling your career goals.

The seminar will include in-depth reflection on independent school leadership and the specific differences for leaders of color and women. You will engage in facilitated dialogue with education leaders who will share milestones from their career paths as proven steps for building a career of long-term leadership and personal and professional growth. Topics will include working effectively with a mentor, acquiring the critical skills heads of school wish they had before assuming their positions, and developing professional growth plans. You’ll also come away with tips for incorporating session takeaways to further your own leadership development.
Sponsored by CalWest Educators Placement.
From Access to Success: Using Cognition, Culture, Design Thinking, and Instructional Practice to Improve Equitable Outcomes for Diverse Students
Kapono Ciotti, Wai’alae Elementary School (HI)
Jennifer D. Klein, World Leadership School (CO)

What does success for students look like in an era of focus on student access? This question is of vital importance as schools begin and nurture diversity initiatives. Diversity cannot just be about admitting a diverse student body. It must involve establishing truly equitable programs that ensure success for all students. How can your school leverage different cognitive styles and cultural backgrounds to create more successful pathways to student success? Which instructional practices best create multiple pathways to that success?

This pre-conference experience will leverage the diverse backgrounds and expertise of Kapono Ciotti, CEO and head of school at Wai’alae School, and Jennifer Klein, director of professional development at the World Leadership School. Bring your own experiences, successes, and challenges to the table as you engage in a design thinking lab setting. You will explore a new framework for education and apply instructional strategies such as design thinking and project-based learning to create multiple pathways to student success. You’ll also explore principles related to cultural competencies and learn how these critical skills are foundational for every educator.

Not in My School! How White Supremacy and White Privilege Undermine Best Intentions
Eddie Moore Jr., The Privilege Institute
Debbie Irving, Educator and Author

How do current racial events and tensions drive school communities apart? How can you use them instead as teachable, community-building moments?

The recent surge in highly visible racial incidents and a deeply polarized hate-filled political landscape affects students differently along racial lines. Your independent school has a unique opportunity to deepen understanding and campus engagement. This interactive and challenging session explores how today’s headline stories relate to the impact of power, privilege, and oppression on student and family engagement, teacher preparation, curriculum development, and everyday campus interactions.

In this seminar, you will explore a new tool to analyze racial and other systems of oppression; engage in activities to deepen understanding of the origin of differences, their manifestation in recent events, and how they obstruct efforts of equity; and expand your confidence in engaging in systemic school change to increase a positive school environment, particularly for students of color in independent schools. You’ll also prepare an action plan to create tangible goals — short and long term, personal and systemic.

Seeking Cultural Competence in Hiring: Practical Methods and Strategies for Identifying the Administrators, Staff, and Faculty Needed in 21st Century Independent Schools
Cris Clifford Cullinan, ALiVE: Actual Leadership in Vital Equity
Ruth Jurgensen, Francis W. Parker School (IL)
Kathryn Kaiser, The School at Columbia University (NY)
Steve Morris, San Francisco School (CA)
Belinda Nicholson, The School at Columbia University (NY)

Independent schools can no longer afford to hire faculty, administrators, and other staff who are not culturally competent. Lack of cultural competence directly affects the environment for students; it leads to lower achievement rates for underrepresented individuals and miseducation and poor role modeling for all. Hiring without cultural competence in mind also leads directly to problems with retention. Without shared responsibility for inclusion and equity, the overworked few who possess the necessary skills will often want to leave as soon as other opportunities become available.

For all these reasons, your school should view hiring for any position as an opportunity to improve cultural competency at every level. Your hiring processes should include ways to evaluate candidates’ actual knowledge, skills, and abilities to work effectively, respectfully, and inclusively with all current and future members of your school community — colleagues, students, parents, alumni, and community members. Your processes should also differentiate knowledgeable candidates from those who lack these critical skills.

This seminar is designed to provide you with effective tools to adapt to your own school. Working with other participants, you will identify various dimensions of cultural competence and focus on the ones that represent the most critical needs for positions in your particular school. You will also learn practical methods and strategies, including ways to design appropriate advertisements, improve paper screening procedures, and write effective interview and reference questions.

Advancing Human and Civil Rights Through Effective Listening: A Social Justice Imperative
John Igwebuike, Alcorn State University

Educators spend extensive time and resources instructing learners to read, speak, and write. But how much time do they devote to enabling students to truly listen to and understand other human beings with dignity and respect? This seminar explores the rarely discussed art, skill, and practice of effective listening. It acknowledges listening as a radical social justice tool to advance human dignity, understanding, and respect. It is for anyone interested in doing a deep dive to understand radical listening and start a listening revolution that creates a just, empathetic, and respect-based society.

The session uses experiential activities and exercises that focus on alertness, awareness, and attention. You will identify personal listening habits that inhibit or enhance social justice; learn to critically spot exclusive language, stereotypes, and biases; and practice amplifying the voice of others through active listening strategies and techniques. You will also co-construct policies and solutions that spur listening equity within organizations, including your school.

Education for Transformation: The Keys to Releasing the Genius of African American Students
Chike Akua, Teacher Transformation Institute

What methods do master teachers use to reach and teach African American students?  What role do teachers’ and students’ cultural knowledge play in producing excellence in African American students? How can you use culture as a bridge rather than a barrier to produce excellence in all students?
Educational research is clear and compelling: Culture is the key — the critical mediating factor in increasing achievement for African Americans and other students of color. This session is carefully designed to help educators and leaders move from cultural consciousness to cultural competence. You will be introduced to proven strategies that connect culture and learning and lead to greater student interest, engagement, and achievement.

Your presenter is award-winning educator, author, and international speaker Chike Akua. He will draw on his best-selling book, Education for Transformation: The Keys to Releasing the Genius of African American Students. Take a deep dive into engaging students in new ways that will make them more critical, analytical, and reflective about the world around them and within them. You'll leave with practical strategies and resources to take your teaching to the next level.

Half Day Pre-Conference Equity Seminar

8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
$95 (includes a light breakfast; lunch is on your own)
TICKET REQUIRED: Sign up when you register for PoCC.

Beyond the Why and into the How: Inclusive Classroom Practices
Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls’ School (WA)
We know about the startling opportunity gap in education and society. We’ve learned about identity, culture, communication, and power and how they bring privilege to some and disenfranchise others. We are convinced of why diversity and inclusion are important. But we are unsure about how intention transforms itself into positive impact on student lives. How do we turn commitment into action? What are some strategies and best practices to help us become the educators with whom all children thrive? Come to this session and find out.


Wednesday, December 7
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
TICKET REQUIRED: Sign up when you register for PoCC.
School Visits offer independent and special focus schools in the host city an opportunity to offer a site-visit agenda that celebrates each school’s unique culture and mission while sharing the ways in which diversity and multicultural education play a role.
Atlanta Girls’ School with Atlanta Speech School (shared campus)
Atlanta Girls’ School’s curriculum and culture emerge from a distinct vision of what girls must learn, individually and collectively, to become thoughtful and capable leaders. The school achieves this by using proven and emerging educational techniques tailored to how girls learn, and by integrating big-picture thinking, high expectations, and leading-edge technologies.

Positioned at the intersection of brain science and social science, the Atlanta Speech School brings about transformative change in the lives of children and adults through research-based practices, innovation, advocacy, and partnerships with other organizations. The goal is to help each child at the school and every child in Georgia acquire the language and literacy abilities essential for deciding their own futures.

Woodward Academy
Now in its second century of fostering excellence, character, and opportunity, Woodward Academy is the largest independent school in the continental United States. It has 2,700 students spanning two campuses on 133 acres in metro Atlanta. Students develop a deep respect for difference as they collaborate with peers from more than 100 ZIP codes and a broad array of religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

The Children’s School
This is a progressive school serving students from age 3 through sixth grade in a diverse community in midtown Atlanta. Grounded in principles of excellence, innovation, and play, the school believes a diverse community is an educational imperative. It also believes that children value the multiple perspectives they receive from peers who bring experiences shaped by differences in race, ethnicity, family structure, socioeconomic status, religion, and other cultural identifiers.

Atlanta International School
Atlanta International School sets out to meet the challenges and opportunities of a fast-changing world. It develops students to be responsible citizens and to have flexible intellectual competence, self-discipline, and a global outlook. AIS provides an independent, international, and multilingual education within the framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. The school offers STEM- and STEAM-endorsed and bilingual diplomas in addition to the prestigious IB diploma.