PoCC Equity Seminars

PoCC Equity Seminars are opportunities for deep-dives into pressing equity and justice topics for independent schools. Pre-registration is required for all seminars, and there is an extra fee to attend.


Full-Day Seminars (Monday and Tuesday)

Each full-day Equity Seminar will take place in two parts: the first part on Monday, November 30 (1:00–3:30 PM) and the second part on Tuesday, December 1 (1:00–3:30 PM). If you take a full-day Equity Seminar, you cannot also take a half-day Equity Seminar.

ES01. Design the Impossible: Using Liberatory Design to Transform Systems of Power

This seminar will introduce liberatory design as a means to create transformational change. Many core issues of inequity are about access to power—where you live, where you learn, whom you love, and the color of your skin all inform how much access you have to power. Participants will begin to develop “power literacy” by using systems thinking to better understand how power functions in our society. Through brainstorming and hands-on practice, we will utilize liberatory design practices and mindsets to consider how to redesign systems to redistribute power in schools, communities, and the nation. Our work will be fundamentally grounded in a mindset of joy, optimism, and liberation as we firmly believe that we must embody the world we seek to create.

Presenters: Alegria Barclay and Angi Chau, The Nueva School (CA)

ES02. Do You See What I Mean? Facilitating Courageous Conversations Visually

As educators and activists leading the work around diversity, equity, and inclusion in our schools, we are often called on to facilitate courageous conversations across identity, power, and difference. Though there are many dialogue models and tools, visuals can help set the stage, support thinking, and catalyze breakthroughs. Engage with veteran facilitators to learn common facilitation models, avoid pitfalls, and manage polarity. Learn visual facilitation strategies from experts to help people see issues and perspectives more clearly. This workshop will give participants an opportunity to unpack practical strategies for facilitating courageous conversations, practice facilitating, and leave with a visual toolset to deepen practice.

Presenters: Kawai Lai, VizLit (CA); Rosetta Lee, Seattle Girls School (WA); Tamisha Williams, The Potomac School (VA)

ES03. Leadership Committed to Racial Equity, Not Rhetoric: Cultural Competence, Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Accountability

In this seminar, school leaders will explore ways their schools can build cultural competence and practice racial equity, community-building, and solidarity for social justice. In a real world shaped by COVID-19 and the continued sanctioned murder of people of color, this work in education is urgent. Any façade of “diversity” rhetoric must give way to effective practices and transformational change. This session will provide opportunities to identify, discuss, and adapt practices and methods for attracting and hiring the best culturally competent candidates, building meaningful inclusion in policy evolution, mentoring and retention, and moving the entire school in the direction of greater cultural competence and racial equity for all members of the school community.

Presenters: Cristine Cullinan, ALiVE: Actual Leadership in Vital Equity; Emma Coddington, Willamette University; Ruth Jurgensen, Prep for Prep (NY); Kalyan Balaven, The Athenian School (CA) 

ES04. Resilience + Healing / Awareness + Accountability: A Deep Dive Into Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, Racial Identity, and Microaggressions

What could you do if you could see what’s not there? How much more powerfully could you engage oppressive forces and barriers to inclusion if you could recognize the seemingly “invisible” obstacles to equity and belonging in our schools and organizations? In this seminar, we will challenge ourselves by first examining the racial lens through which we experience the world. The facilitators will draw on cognitive science and real-life examples to demonstrate how unconscious phenomena linked to race—such as implicit bias and racial anxiety—impact us and influence the ways we change educational systems. We will then connect these phenomena to racial microaggressions that students and adults may experience, and we will practice responses that promote wellness for all community members. Participants will build concrete skills to navigate racialized experiences and strengthen their personal and institutional commitment to equity in policies and practices.

Presenters: Sandra "Chap" Chapman, Sandra Chapman Consulting; Jessica MacFarlane, Perception Institute

Half-Day Seminars (Monday)

Monday, November 30, 1:00–3:30 PM

ES05. Designing Iterative, Interactive, and Data-Informed Professional Development Experiences for Your School

What happens when the experiences of students of color who are attending predominantly white independent schools lead to an interactive learning tool? Using their stories to direct skill development, participants will engage in an interactive, dynamic tool (Cards on Race) designed to help people of all levels examine race in a thoughtful, structured, and engaging way. Using this tool, participants will develop and strengthen racial literacy, empathy, and the healthy racial coping strategies needed to navigate our everyday world and our most challenging conversations about race. In addition, participants will be provided with professional development models to easily integrate into their school communities. This interactive tool can be used to enhance community-focused, data-informed professional development programming at the advisory, classroom, divisional, and institutional levels.

Presenters: Liz Fernández, Ethical Culture Fieldston School (NY); Jackson Collins, Prep for Prep (NY)

ES06. FACTUALITY | An Interactive Crash Course on Structural Inequality, Intersectionality, and Empathy

What if the opportunity to discuss inequality in America, with a focus on racism, was presented via an equally unconventional yet interactive and engaging platform? During this session, participants will be engaged in a facilitated dialogue, crash course, and interactive experience that simulates the experiences of diverse identities, by adhering to the following steps. Step 1. assume the identity of a character that differs from how you identify, which creates opportunities to empathize with differences Step 2. immerse yourself in a highly interactive simulation that explores advantages and limitations based on the intersection of your character's race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, class, age, and ability. Step 3.

Presenter: Natalie Gillard, Factuality

ES07. Grading for Equity: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How It Can Transform Schools

Despite our deepest commitment to equity and anti-racist teaching, many of our current grading practices are artifacts of the Industrial Revolution and actually undermine effective teaching and perpetuate achievement disparities. This interactive seminar will provide an overview of three aspects of grading: (1) the genesis of U.S. grading practices and the conflict with our beliefs about teaching, learning, and equity; (2) grading practices that are more accurate, bias-resistant, and motivational; (3) the quantitative and qualitative data describing how more equitable grading reduces achievement disparities, strengthens teacher-student relationships, motivates and empowers students, reduces stress, and aligns our grading practices with our social justice and educational purposes. Participants will learn how schools can develop a multistage and multipronged approach to implementing consistent and more equitable grading practices schoolwide.

Presenter: Joe Feldman, Crescendo Education Group; Mark Boswell, Marin Country Day School (CA)

ES08. Shaping Social Justice Champions: Designing a DEI-Focused Curriculum That Cultivates Activism and Community Leadership

This seminar will guide participants through the development of a multidisciplinary, project-based curriculum that challenges students to apply skills they learn in the classroom to advocating for those oppressed by racism. First, we will explore how a school can collaborate with community stakeholders to identify a system that racially oppresses a group of people. We will then employ an academic and activist approach to deconstruct the social, educational, economic, and civic elements of the oppression and advocate for the oppressed. The seminar will approach the development of the curriculum from the perspectives of the administrator, specialized staff member, teacher, student, parent, and community stakeholder. Participants will complete this seminar with a plan for their school and community.

Presenter: Mason West, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (GA)

Half-Day Seminars (Tuesday)

Tuesday, December 1, 1:00–3:30 PM

ES09. Challenging Cultures of Power to Choose Justice: A Hands-on Protocol

In this seminar, participants will use a hands-on protocol based on Stuart Hall’s 1993 encoding/decoding theory and his definition of hegemonic viewpoints, in addition to the Maker-Centered Learning Framework (developed in 2016 by Clapp, Ross, Ryan, and Tishman) to nurture a more inclusive, equitable, just, and empowering classroom. Participants will use systems thinking to look critically at curricular content, explore its complexities, and find opportunities to enact change while bringing students’ perspectives and representation to the center of the learning process. Participants will walk away with a practical guide to adapt and facilitate the protocol in the classroom, teacher-training workshops, and other anti-racist teaching initiatives. The goal of the protocol is to facilitate learning that chooses justice.

Presenter: Yerko Sepulveda-Larraguibel, Hawken School (OH)

ES10. Despite Polarization, Skillfully Navigate Difference to Build Relationships, Shift Systems, and Lead for Justice

Independent schools are not sheltered from the polarization that divides the country and supports assimilation as opposed to justice and liberation. How, then, do diversity practitioners and school leaders intentionally leverage their communities’ diversity to live to, rather than aspire to, their school missions? How do they stay at the table with stated school values and include and engage the diversity of folks in their community—people with similar values but likely different translations of them, unique intersectional identities, different life experiences, and various political ideologies? How do they navigate effectively across cultural differences and varying levels of intercultural competence? Facilitators will use the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, somatic practices, and an adaptation of the Theatre of the Oppressed to help participants strategically address these questions.
Presenters: Marie Michael, Embodied Coaching & Consulting; Scott Flemming, Global Academy (MN)

ES11. Latinx Anti-Racist Action: Getting Aligned

The Latinx community is a complex one. We embody a spectrum of racial phenotypes, and we originate from distinct histories, culture, and knowledge sets about race. For many, understanding American categories for race feels impossible. No matter our differences, many Latinx educators are opposed to racism, but many of us fall short in our capacity to challenge racism in our schools because of the gaps in our understanding about race, racism, and white supremacy. These gaps undermine our ability to serve the goal of PoC solidarity as colleagues and to upend racism in our schools. This Latinx affinity workshop will offer key intellectual takeaways for understanding white supremacy and its impact on community. Participants will develop skills to more effectively challenge racism and build greater solidarity in our schools.

Presenter: Ramón Javier, Trinity School (NY); Eva Vega-Olds, The Town School (NY)

ES12. Reconnect: Self-Care as a Practice of Freedom

Every time a flight prepares to depart, the flight attendants complete their safety demonstration and remind us to “Place the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others in need.” This seminar is for the educator of color who gave her oxygen mask away and is now finding it hard to breathe. It is for the educator of color who is tired, scared, and feels alone yet continues to fight. This session is a reminder that there is no caring for them unless you are caring for yourself and no support for them unless there is support for yourself. Wondering if this seminar is for you? Ask yourself the question that Mary Oliver so beautifully posed, “Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”

Presenter: Tamara Pearson, Practice Freedom Project

ES13. Using Listening Circles to Amplify Marginalized Voices in Response to Racial Injustice

Building a healthy school climate and culture requires an effective set of practices and processes that immediately address racism when it occurs within a school-based community. In fact, being urgent, explicit, and intentional is essential to repairing harm and creating a safe learning and work environment. Listening Circles are an effective first step when an incident occurs that impacts the community-at-large. During this half-day seminar designed for educators, counselors, and administrators, participants will learn the history, rationale, structure, application, and facilitation of restorative Listening Circles. Learners will participate firsthand in examples of Listening Circles and walk away with a potent tool that can be applied immediately with faculty, staff, or students—virtually or in person—when the need arises.

Presenters: Keith Hickman and Beth Smull, International Institute for Restorative Practices; Coy Dailey and Saara Mahjouri, Bank Street School for Children (NY); Javaid Khan, Horace Mann School (NY)

The PoCC Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (Monday and Tuesday)

The PoCC Leadership Institute for Educators of Color takes place in two parts: the first part on Monday, November 30 (1:00–3:30 PM) and the second part on Tuesday, December 1 (1:00–3:30 PM).
Presenters: Nicole DuFauchard, The Advent School (MA); James Calleroz White, The Galloway School (GA)

COVID-19 2.0. [email protected] and Black Lives Matter. Mounting social unrest polarization. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. School leaders are facing unprecedented challenges and unforeseen opportunities to head our schools in sustainable, innovative ways. Register today and join a cohort of equally talented colleagues seeking powerful strategies to advance to the next level of leadership. Build your network of mentors, sponsors, and peers in this unique seminar tailored to the lived experiences of people of color. 

The PoCC Leadership Institute offers state-of-the-art leadership development tools and strategies including the The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, a premier research-based inventory that provides you with a deeper understanding of your thinking preferences and how they contribute to individual leadership strengths and style. The seminar format includes in-the-moment coaching, peer exchange, self-assessment, crisis and care capacity-building, and post-institute followup, all in an encouraging atmosphere designed to nurture and propel a compelling vision for fulfilling your career goals.