January 17, 2018, Issue #24

January 23, 2018
January 30, 2018
February 13, 2018
February 13-14, 2018
February 21, 2018
February 22, 2018
March 5, 2018
March 8, 2018
March 14, 2018
March 20, 2018
April 12, 2018
April 16, 2018

June 18-20, 2018
July 17-20, 2018
July 31-Aug 3, Oct 19, Feb 8
August 7-10, Oct 18, Feb 7

1) If your school isn't already a member, encourage them to join  here

2) Register for our upcoming eventsand keep an eye out for our spring schedule of workshops.

3) Get in touch and let us know what kind of professional learning opportunities you're looking for.

4) Have expertise to share? Contact us about writing a blog post or leading a workshop.

5) Join our mailing list to stay up to date on all our future workshops and events.

A message from the  Executive Director, 


Teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for your continued engagement with the work of the CATDC. In this season of making resolutions, setting goals and dreaming of a better world in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we should also be setting a strong course for change. As Rasheda Carroll, Director of Equity and Inclusion at the Wildwood School, so eloquently put it in an address at the PoCC : we must "deliver on the promise of our good intentions."

In my letter to the CATDC community after accepting the position of Executive Director, I wrote: "I believe in the power of education to transform young people, to help them become more thoughtful and empathetic, skillful and creative and thus better able to build a more just and harmonious world. Independent school teachers and administrators are uniquely positioned to provide this kind of transformative education; their work is more important than ever, and thus so is the charge to support their own development."

After six months on the job, I not only feel more strongly about the transformative potential of education, I have become more passionate about the need for educators to engage in their own professional learning. The times demand that we be especially self-aware, working toward change from within, stretching ourselves as learners and leaders in service of our students and schools.

I hope you will join us for one of our many excellent workshops being offered this spring as you set your own course for change. On the near horizon is the eighth annual Women in Leadership Conference. While we are filled to capacity in the Bay Area, there are still spots available in Los Angeles . Given the current climate, I also want to draw your attention to two new workshops: Revealing Blind Spots, Generating Intersectional Competence: Strategies for Classroom Teachers (Bay Area) ; and Navigating Gender and Sexuality Diversity in PreK-12 (LA ); as well as an old favorite, Navigating Those Tricky Conversations, presented this year both in Los Angeles and the Bay Area .

It is also time to start planning your summer professional learning. I am pleased to announce that the CATDC is expanding two of its signature summer programs: Equity as Excellence and Teaching Foundations, in Los Angeles and the Bay Area . We also have openings for several Teaching Foundations facilitators. Please see our website  for information about these great professional opportunities as well as more spring and summer offerings.

In our featured blogs this month, we hear from two new contributors to "The Buzz": busy teachers and administrators, also immersed in their own growth. Tamisha Williams, Dean of Adult Equity & Inclusion at Lick-Wilmerding High School, writes about her key learnings from such luminaries as Sonia Nieto and Deborah Meier while at the Progressive Education Network National Conference in Boston, highlighting important questions to help us honor and acknowledge all of our students. Sarah Cooper, Dean of Studies at Flintridge Preparatory School, shares some strategies for approaching current events, reflecting on " how lucky we are as teachers to be able to engage with our curious students on the issues of the day" with hope that they will solve them as the "voters of tomorrow." Also included is an article from NAIS describing a high school course called "Dialogues Across Differences'' which provides a useful framework to help students have difficult conversations. As one participant put it: "Challenging conversations broaden perspectives, allowing people to move themselves from distortion to clarity. Dialogues forces the start of this type of thinking."

Finally, for some additional inspiration, I am sharing one of my favorite pieces on staying true to our own visions for change, Victoria Safford's "Standing at the Gates of Hope": read it here , or listen to it read beautifully by the world renowned educational activist, Parker Palmer.

"Dialogues Across Differences" Prepare Students for Life Beyond the Bubble
By Rob Munro, NAIS
We spent two years developing the content and tools for this course, drawing inspiration from a variety of organizations, including the Center for Nonviolent Communication, the CARE Organization, and Harvard Business School. Our impetus was not only to help students become more empathetic and globally aware but also to broadly promote skills in critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and empathy, which can sometimes seem overlooked amid an emphasis on quantitative skills, credentials, and end-products, including higher education and job selection. Further, we wanted students (and parents) to understand that these skills are not only crucial to develop character but also vital to create inclusive school communities and to thrive in the workforce.
Acknowledge and Honor Culture, Language, and Lived-Experience: Key Takeaways from the Progressive Education Network National Conference
By Tamisha Williams, Lick-Wilmerding High School
I attended a powerful and eye-opening workshop called Combating Islamophobia with Nassim Zerriffi, a teacher at Manhattan Country School. During a "Muslims in STEM" activity, a participant explained that she had not been sharing names that are "challenging to say" to her students because she didn't want to disrespect them by mispronouncing them. Instead, she omitted them from her curriculum. This means that Muslim contributors to modern society weren't getting credit, which allowed a false narrative to exist and a narrow and stereotypical narrative of Muslims to grow. Who are we erasing in order to remain in a space of comfort? Who inaccurately dominates the narrative due to familiarity and our ability to relate? What messages are we sending when we do not put forth effort to acknowledge and honor someone's name?

We Can't Afford Not to Discuss Current Events
By Sarah Cooper, Flintridge Preparatory School
We discuss current events just about every day in my eighth-grade U.S. history classes. Sometimes it takes five minutes, when I bring in an article I think students should know about - on taxes or technology, oral arguments or international diplomacy. Sometimes it takes the whole period, especially on Fridays when students give presentations and field questions on the news.
Some days are easier than others for talking about the news. Natural disasters overwhelm. Mass shootings horrify. Politicians disappoint. On slower news days, I try to share an uplifting story about a scientific discovery or a kind human action, simply to counteract the compassion fatigue that can come from reading the paper each day.