As Head of School at Bank Street’s School for Children, you attended the Conference at Dalton for several years. What brought you back each year?
It is such a unique model having both kids and grownups involved. I think it’s smart to make it a requirement that to participate a school has to bring along a real cross section of people from across the school. It’s also wonderful that the decision makers get to be there. There are not a lot of other opportunities for professional development like this available.
Being in the Administrator Group with many Heads of School in the morning you get to see where the other schools are in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, and can learn from and help each other. We have much in common, such as affinity groups and similar pressures, so it is useful to hear best practices.
What was an action Item from the Conference that Bank Street implemented?
After meeting in the POD, the administration team conducted a real examination of our hiring practices, from crafting job descriptions to advertising. We looked at how we interacted with candidates, working right through the entire process, dedicating ourselves to do everything we could to ensure our hiring practices were free from biases. The changes included additional training for the senior administrative team led by the diversity coordinator at the time.
New City School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2019, and it will host its first Conference on January 12, 2019. How do you see the Conference fitting into your celebrations?
The Conference will be an important part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. The School was founded with a strong commitment to diversity and one of our four pillars talks about the importance of diversity beyond the numbers. Not only will we brand all of our events as part of the 50th anniversary, but we want to demonstrate the continuation of the work we’ve begun in diversity, equity and inclusion to show that we are taking it to the next level, and preparing for the next 50 years.
You recently started planning for the Conference. What excites you most about this opportunity?
There’s a lot of good energy around the planning. We’ve sent out a teaser to our community of schools and are working on a theme. We’re excited about our keynote speaker,
Dr. Joshua Bennett
, who is a spoken word author and published author. He is an independent school graduate too and he will certainly electrify people. Being the first mid-west school to host a Pollyanna Conference is very exciting and gives us a chance to demonstrate that we are trailblazers in leading these important conversations. I look forward to sharing our enthusiasm with other schools from around the area.