Pollyanna creates discussion platforms for groups of people to explore issues of diversity, equity and inclusion;
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
September 2018
When I grew up, September meant the start of a new school year and buying new school supplies. Truth be told, I was usually a bit more excited about going to the local stationery store and looking through all of the amazing supplies than I was about classes starting. What I don’t remember thinking about was how fortunate I was to shop in the local – read expensive – store and not have to worry much about cost. I also don’t remember thinking about the kids who couldn’t buy whatever supplies they needed or wanted. 

When I think back to that time, it was the first of many missed opportunities to learn about my privilege. It was also a missed opportunity to learn about my responsibility. At some point in my development, I remember certain lessons my mom inculcated. The first was in response to the wealth disparity at the school I attended. Her advice was simple: some people have more, and some have less - appreciate what you have - which satisfied me for a bit. And at some point, that lesson became: to whom much is given, much is expected. These are the lessons I remember most, and I am proud to honor my mom and continue learning every day through my work with Pollyanna and schools.

In addition to our original Conference model we bring to schools, we are also introducing a Racial Literacy Curriculum K-8 and the Intra-Conference model Jim Best references in his interview below.

And now a confession: I had planned or challenged myself to read one book per week over the summer. I was able to read six…and also read some incredible articles, listened to podcasts and watched some inspiring documentaries and shows. Below is a very abbreviated list I thought you might find interesting. Let me know what you think.

Q&A - Interview with Jim Best
Head of School, The Dalton School
This is your first year as Head of School at Dalton. What made you decide to produce a Dalton Intra-Conference this fall?
Well, the first thing to say is that we’re still—proudly—hosting the 9th Annual  From Diversity to Community Conference in the spring. The topic is implicit bias. We’re expecting a full house, so New York City schools mark your calendars—it’s April 27, 2019 and registration will be up shortly. I’m afraid I just turned my answer into a public service announcement. But it’s actually connected to the reason we’re producing our own Intra-Conference in the fall. In my own experience, the conference has caused me to reflect on some of the most important concepts an educational leader can and should consider. Each conference theme has encouraged me to think more deeply about the topics Dalton should engage with and the type of community we want to continually build.
What’s the connection between  From Diversity to Community  and the Intra-Conference?
We’ve seen the success of  From Diversity to Community : the impact it has on attendees and the practical solutions that come out of it. And so we said: this is a great model. We can use it to explore our own values, our own choices, our own actions, in more depth. So, in a big way, our conference is an acknowledgement of the power of  From Diversity to Community . In addition, the work we’ve done with the Pollyanna team over the last several years has developed, framed, and managed our Intra-Conference and has kept  From Diversity to Community fresh and relevant year after year.
What’s the fall conference about?
The direct inspiration is our recent Strategic Plan, which called for just such a conference. The plan also prioritizes a kind of active citizenship in the school community; it asks Dalton to make a concentrated effort to cultivate ethical, purposeful members of our wonderfully diverse community. So the conference is called  The Dalton Citizen: Community & Belonging .
That’s a big title. Where do you start exploring those topics?
Our starting point is Charles Vogl’s book  The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging . Vogl will actually be our keynote speaker. He defines community as “a group of individuals who share a mutual concern for one another’s welfare.” Now, that sounds simple, but it has huge implications for the way we structure our days, nurture our relationships, and so on. So we’ll be pursuing questions like: In what ways are we responsible for each other? In what ways do we belong to each other - and to our school? How do we express that sense of belonging?
What do you hope will come out of Dalton’s Intra-Conference?
We tend to get ambitious at Dalton, so I’d love it if we came up with a hundred new ideas and a dozen new plans. But really I have two goals: I want us to feel secure, and I want us to feel restless. We’re part of a 100-year-old institution with bedrock values that speak to—and for—us. But we also have a lot of work to do, and it’s going to be hard, often uncomfortable work, and we should be on fire to do it.
Pollyanna Family
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 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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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 or any of the new initiatives we are introducing.

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

Sarah Waltcher: interview | Louisa Wells: Design