Mission
Pollyanna creates discussion platforms for groups of people to explore issues of diversity, inclusion and equity;
and to share experiences and knowledge. We believe in being eternally optimistic even in the face of challenge. Pollyanna exists to be part of the solution.

April 2018
Greetings!
Welcome from Casper Caldarola
Founder
Pollyanna stands for change and risk-taking. The goal of bringing this conference model to your school is to bring about positive change –– change in commitment, change in conversations, and change in action. And, as we know, with any kind of transformation there is risk –– the risk of leaving or moving away from what is comfortable, known, and what may feel safe. But without risk, there is no change. And without change, growth cannot happen.
 
Helen Keller said, “ Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” I have taken her words to heart and am ready for a daring adventure. Beginning this summer, Pollyanna will become my full-time focus. After many years and many great memories, I am leaving Allen-Stevenson to lead Pollyanna and the positive change it brings. This decision is not without risk, but one I am very excited about and believe in wholeheartedly.

For schools that have been considering bringing the Pollyanna Conference to your community, join us and the reward will be worth the risk. Town School for Boys has just signed on as our school in San Francisco and we look forward to helping them build on their robust equity work. And, early congratulations to Vermont Academy hosting its first conference on April 7 and Dalton hosting its eighth conference on April 28!
 
If you haven’t watched our short video and have a couple of minutes, please click below and see why schools are signing up. As always, reach out with any questions. I’m looking forward to supporting the ways we continue to challenge each other!

Warmly,
Pollyanna Family
Contact us to join the growing list of Schools in our family.

 The Children's School in Atlanta, GA
The Dalton School in New York, NY
Far Brook School in Short Hills, NJ
Francis W. Parker in Chicago, IL
Francis Parker in San Diego, CA
Harvard-Westlake in Los Angeles, CA
New City School in St. Louis, MO
Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC
NEW Town School for Boys in San Francisco, CA
Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT
The Wheeler School in Providence, RI
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Q&A with Alexis Wright
Head of School at New City School , St. Louis
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.
Morning breakout session by constituent group
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The cost of hosting a Conference at an independent school is not completely covered in the school fee. Please consider a gift to underwrite part of or the entire cost of an independent school.



2017 Newsletters: October, November , December
2018 Newsletter: January , February , March
Pollyanna, Inc. is a New York not-for-profit corporation 501(c)(3). © 2018 Pollyanna.

Sarah Woods: Writer of interview | Louisa Wells: Newsletter Designer