Special team pricing: Only $2,337 for each additional attendee from your school! Call to register, 302-656-4944.
A major challenge to community building is the misconception that if individuals share a common environment, they also experience the world similarly. Research, however, suggests that we are all shaped by society in meaningful ways, which influences how we form our personal identity and interact with others.
Specifically in independent schools, the word “diversity” often ironically undermines inclusivity initiatives. First, diversity is often ill-defined, which creates confusion among groups regarding who’s included, goals, and benefactors of diversity initiatives. Secondly, diversity often represents an identity- something that one is--instead of a set of collective goals that unifies people from all backgrounds toward fostering a more equitable school community. As a result, many potential supporters express not feeling personally represented by diversity. Others may engage in this work through a lens of sympathy, well-meaning pity, or “savior” mindsets when their intent is meant to fuel empathy and deepen understanding. In short, it’s all very confusing!
Led by educational consultant Derrick Gay, this workshop will guide participants in an interactive journey employing a variety of interactive strategies, discussions, individual reflection, viewing of current documentaries, and media articles. The intentional creation of a safe learning environment allows participants to process and reflect on individual and institutional assumptions, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors with the goal of providing concrete skills to foster a more inclusive school community.
Who Should Attend:
Anyone interested in fostering a more inclusive independent school community. During our discussion we will have multiple opportunities to differentiate learning based on experience as well as meet in job-alike groupings.
How you benefit:
- Get concrete resources to inform articulating your vision around diversity and inclusion
- Learn about proven effective best practices in other independent schools
- Begin to assess your school’s needs and potential resources to realize your community goals
- Learn more about your own identity and how you perceive others. Insights that will both benefit fostering an inclusive school and support your leadership effectiveness
- Join networks of other independent school educators reflecting deeply on these critical issues of community life
What we cover:
- Explore identity and how we perceive others
- Define and reframe “diversity”
- Deepen understanding of the power of words and language to include/exclude
- Learn more about concepts to foster inclusive communities
- Explore stereotypes and the ways in which they undermine academic gains and community
- Learn about implicit bias and micro aggressions
- Does your school need a director of diversity? We will discuss.
Q&A with Derrick
Considering the term "diversity," what does it mean in independent schools?
As I argue in my Tedx talk, the irony with conventional independent school framings of inclusion work is that the word "diversity" often undermines the intentions of diversity. In the 18 years that I have worked in independent schools as a teacher, musical director, advisor and senior administrator, I have seen this word serve as a double-edged sword in independent school communities. On the one hand, schools look to embrace diversity as an affirmation of their mission and tangible evidence of their rhetoric around fostering an inclusive community; on the other, these same schools, ironically, eschew diversity as it triggers visceral emotions of divisiveness, guilt, and segregation that they perceive to be antithetical to fostering cohesive communities. How, then, do educators reconcile these differences to foster inclusive communities.
What makes this different from other diversity courses?
My current work is informed by my experience doing diversity work as an internal practitioner. When I worked in independent schools, I often sought external speaker to advance inclusivity initiatives. I invited knowledgeable scholars, researchers, social activists and other experts to facilitate faculty development, parent workshops and work with students. The challenge was that these presentations often didn't resonate with various constituents because it became painfully clear that the speakers had never lived in a K-12 independent school. Without deep teaching and independent school experience, speakers would fall apart during faculty Q and A.
Independent school faculties are committed, intelligent and master teachers. They pose insightful and nuanced questions and crave concrete tools and frameworks to enrich teaching and learning. Similarly, parents want meaningful advice for their children. And students can smell a non-teacher a mile away. I soon realized that there was no one doing this work who possessed the critical components necessary to be effective: deep teaching and administrative experience, content knowledge of community life scholarly literature, organizational development tools to effective implement initiatives and deep institutional knowledge of independent schools.
After 12 years of teaching and serving as an administrator, I decided that I would feel this void: serve as a resource and repository of best practices to foster inclusive independent school communities. I have been fortunate to serve scores of schools, domestically and abroad to foster empathy, cultivate cultural competency and deepen inclusion. In a 21st century global society, these skills are a non-negotiable and not cultivation these habits of mind and knowledge is a disservice to our students and families.
How will participants benefit from attending?
My hope is that participants will leave the workshop with a new understanding and reframing of diversity from serving as an identity representing historically-marinalized groups to a critical 21st century competency that we all need-- especially students-- to thrive in a global society.
To learn more about Derrick, visit www.derrickgay.com