PoCC Session Proposal Submission Guidelines and Tips

Thank you for your interest in submitting a presentation for the 2023 NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC). This page provides guidelines, tips, and information for submitting an effective NAIS proposal. The submission deadline has been extended to May 22, 2023, at 11:59 PM ET.

Click here to submit your proposal.

This year’s theme—Gateways to Freedom: A Confluence of Truth, Knowledge, Joy, and Power—calls us to meet together as we take different paths on a common journey of truth, knowledge, joy, and power. Grounded in purpose, this motif evokes the presence and strength of our ancestors and the possibilities borne of our emergent futures. NAIS expects everyone who submits a proposal to present at PoCC to reflect on this theme and allow it to inform their session design. 

Submission Types

There are three different types of session proposals for PoCC. To prepare your proposal, please view the submission requirements below, which outline the information needed for each. You can submit a maximum of two proposals for each session category. 
  • Equity Seminars: PoCC Equity Seminars are highly interactive, in-depth sessions that allow participants to deepen their skills as advocates, educators, trainers, activists, and leaders working to build more equitable, just, and inclusive teaching and learning environments. PoCC Equity Seminars may align with one of the conference tracks, or they may introduce a different content theme/area of focus.The Equity Seminars will take place on Wednesday, November 29. You may submit proposals for either full- or half-day sessions. 
  • General Workshops: These 75-minute presentations will be offered on November 30-December 2 and will be organized by the following tracks: 
    • Organizational Development and Institutional Change
    • Building Capacity: Skills, Competencies, and Processes for Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Social Justice
    • Equity and Justice Exemplars: Programs; Models; and Best, Promising, and Next Practices
    • Racial and Ethnic Identities: Developmental Models, Frameworks, and Approaches 
    • Self-Efficacy and Empowerment: Mind, Body, Spirit
    • Leadership and Management for Equity and Inclusion
    • Racial and Social Justice from the Classroom to the Community
    • Data Use in DEI: Evidence-Based Equity and Justice Programming, Research, and Evaluation
    • Anti-Racist Teaching, Training, Activism, and Allyship
    • Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and DEI
    • General workshop submission requirements
  • Express Cafés: The PoCC Express Café is a lively space that invites participants to host conversations that matter to them. Cafés are 60-minute, roundtable-type conversations on various topics of interest. This is not a “presentation” format, and subject matter expertise is not required to host an Express Café conversation. NAIS will consider proposals for topics and, if they are selected, the submitters will convene an inviting conversational space for attendees to share related thoughts, ideas, questions, and experiences.

How Your Proposal Will Be Evaluated

To be successful, a proposal for PoCC should demonstrate how the session will add to the body of knowledge, skills, and relational experience independent school educators need to create safer, more equitable, and just school communities.

All proposals will be evaluated, rated, and selected through a Peer Review Process for congruence with the conference’s mission, and for evidence of experiences and deliverables that have practical application for the wide range of contexts and professional roles within the independent school sector. Approved sessions should help conference attendees solve real-world problems; expand their knowledge of relevant theory and research; challenge their thinking; and offer opportunities for reflection, collaboration, and interaction.

If you are your proposed session’s lead presenter, you should make certain that your session’s deliverables are clearly stated in your proposal. NAIS will evaluate all proposals for the following:
  • Relevance: Each proposal should reflect the conference mission and purpose as well as the felt needs, challenges, experiences, and opportunities of people of color in independent schools, in organizations, and in society at large, as well as in advancing the work of allies for racial justice.
  • Approach: The following should be clear: 
    • the session description and objectives; 
    • how the session adds value to the conference and serves attendees;
    • who the target audience is; 
    • what modes of facilitation the presenters will use; and
    • what takeaways participants can expect.
  • Creativity and innovation: The session should present new or current information and data, or a new lens or perspective on its topic.
  • Demonstrated expertise: The session should present original research, applied knowledge of (others’) recognized research or theory, models or use of evidence-based practices, personal mastery, and reflective practice.
  • Impact: The session should lend itself to professional or personal application and change. It should encourage attendees to continue exploring the subject area and inspire content application in their schools or organizational settings.
  • Engagement: The session should invite attendees to interact with the content and one another. 
See the 2023 PoCC Reviewer Guide here.


Success in Presenting and Facilitating at PoCC

NAIS seeks Equity Seminar and General Workshop session proposals from individuals experienced in matters of social justice; racial and ethnic identity; and equity-minded practice, pedagogy, research, and programming. Because PoCC focuses on racial equity and social justice as opposed to "diversity" writ large, successful presenters and facilitators demonstrate the following attributes:
  • Openness to naming and addressing issues related to racism in all its forms as well as racial and cultural hegemony 
  • Comfort with the discomfort associated with navigating and facilitating difficult conversations 
  • Acknowledgement of and practice in interrogating their own privileges; recognizing implicit and explicit biases; and locating constraints in the context of race, racial identity, and intersectionality
  • An understanding of the mission and culture of the NAIS People of Color Conference
  • Willingness to advocate for racial and social justice in schools and society as ways to realize the highest goals of a multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural democracy
NAIS is also seeking Express Café table hosts. Express Cafés are not a “presentation” format and do not require a subject matter expert to host a conversation. If the topic is selected, the submitters will convene an inviting conversational space for attendees to share related thoughts, ideas, questions, and experiences.

Successful presenters and participants respect the unique mission and context of PoCC by recognizing and considering multiple ways of knowing and being, power differences, and other equity-minded principles and practices. They honor the culture and ethos of the conference by amplifying the voices and experiences of people of color in independent schools and society, and they contribute to building a safe, spiritually nourishing, and rejuvenating professional learning milieu.