The conference takes place on a spring Saturday at The Dalton School. Each registered school sends a group of community members called a POD, which includes 2 members from each constituency: administrators, alumni, diversity practitioners, faculty, parents, students, and trustees.
Following a welcome and a keynote address - past speakers include Deborah Roberts, Wes Moore, Christine Quinn, Charles M. Blow, Glenn Singleton, Tricia Rose, Ali Michael, Daniel Lubetsky, Jerry Kang, Deborah Roberts, and Rodney Glasgow - POD members meet in their own peer group to share challenges and effective practices around the conference topic. To jumpstart the potentially difficult conversations participants are given a list of provocative comments or assumptions that reflect the day-to-day impact of diversity challenges.
After lunch, students share concrete recommendations to help make schools more sensitive to differences. Then each school’s POD meets separately to debrief on the morning. They are given the notes from each of the morning constituent discussion groups and are asked to create an Action Plan that can be taken back to their school to begin to implement change.
Conference reviews by participants have been outstanding, year after year. In particular, attendees appreciate the structure of the day – the opportunity to meet with peers in the morning and their school POD in the afternoon; the emphasis on creating an Action Plan; the reality check of the student presentation, and the inspiration of the guest speaker.
Participating schools report changes both large and small following the conference.
- Revised internal hiring manual
- Working on a more inclusive/comprehensive health curriculum
- Creation of an LGBT affinity group