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.

Welcome from Casper Caldarola
June 2018
At this time of year many of us are attending graduations, speaking at graduations or graduation parties, or even graduating. This is definitely a time of transitions. Schools are finishing up the year, teachers are getting ready to leave for the summer and still squeezing in final planning meetings, administrators are having recap and goal setting retreats, parents are making plans for younger children, and older kids are making plans for themselves…hopefully! It’s a time to reflect and plan and think about the future and how to spend the next two or three months.

I have several items on my to do list. There are at least a dozen books* I’d like to read this summer and I’m challenging myself to read one per week. Mid-summer I’ll be transitioning to focus full-time on Pollyanna and that brings me incredible joy mixed with a little fear…and that should keep me on my toes. I plan to put my feet in the sand and will be doing that in a couple of weeks. My hope for this summer is that it will be meaningful, intentional and fun -- with time spent working productively and time spent enjoying family and friends.  

Happy end of school and beginning of summer!

*Some of the books in my dozen:
The Souls of America • Jon Meacham
The Female Persuasion • Meg Wolitzer 
We Were Eight Years in Power • Ta-Nehisi Coates
Tears We Cannot Stop • Michael Eric Dyson
Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” • Zora Neale Huston
Educated: A Memoir • Tara Westover
Futureface • Alex Wagner
The Art of Gathering • Priya Parker
Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor • Yossi Klein Halevi
How to Change Your Mind • Michael Pollan
Send me your reading list and we'll add a resource page to Pollyanna's website.

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
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 Ruth Jurgensen
Assistant Principal, Francis W. Parker , Chicago, IL
What did you experience while attending Far Brook’s conference last November that confirmed your interest in hosting a Pollyanna Conference?
The shape of the conference and the distinct outcomes that a school can anticipate impressed me. I’ve been to many conferences centered around diversity, equity and inclusion and the action planning and results that occur at the Pollyanna Conference just resonated with me.
I like that you hear from constituents in a very organized way and in particular that you spend so much time thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion from the student perspective. The range of representatives in attendance means we can all talk about how we want to improve and having the chance to ideate together in our school group gives us the opportunity to formulate a framework for an action plan. Equally, I felt very inspired and empowered by the keynote speaker, which provides food for thought as you move into the rest of the day.
All-in-all very productive.
How does this Conference fit in with Parker’s strategic goal of Strengthening Community by Expanding Options, Equity, and Access?
This conference will help us flush out our strategic plan, in particular, our goal of Strengthening Community by Expanding Options, Equity, and Access. We are starting to work on this now, and I know it will assist us in the crafting, especially around the student experience.
We’ve completed a climate assessment on identity, equity and inclusion, undertaken some professional development, and organized a student workshop as part of the process. We have been looking at how we can expand the experience of our students, so the Pollyanna Conference will be an excellent way for us to do this.
Why did you choose the topic of Race • Privilege • Community Building for your first conference in March 2019?
We chose Race as a topic because race in Chicago IS the conversation. It captures generally what the independent schools in Chicago are grappling with, and therefore we think schools will want to address the issues they face around this topic in this unique and productive format. At the same time, we didn’t want the focus to be too narrow. Boarding schools face different scenarios from day schools, so we wanted to make the topic more inclusive, incorporating privilege and community.
Parker hosts many equity events on campus. What do you hope to achieve for Parker and the schools that will attend?
When we talked to Pollyanna, we felt that the model would resonate with the community while supporting our own institutional goals. To be a beacon around this work is important to us. We are also excited about the opportunity for community and camaraderie building with other schools through the Conference.
We want to provide a space for schools that are in a similar situation to us to come and work out an issue they’ve been dealing with, making this an efficient, productive time. What’s so great is that we can talk about issues that permeate and tackle them together. And, because the structure of the Conference is different from other meetings or events, you leave with a succinct plan in place.
Having seen the Pollyanna Conference in action was very powerful, and I know it can work!
A slide from Dr. Nathaniel J. Williams' keynote at Vermont Academy's Conference
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2017 Newsletters: October, November , December
2018 Newsletter: January , February , March, April, May
Pollyanna, Inc. is a New York not-for-profit corporation 501(c)(3). © 2018 Pollyanna.

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