Diversity to Community Conference Success Continues
On May 19, 2012, Dalton hosted seventeen New York City independent schools for a daylong conference: From Diversity to Community: Transitions, the K-8 Experience. The conference, was initiated with great success last year for K-12 schools and was enthusiastically embraced by many new as well as returning schools this year, eager to tackle challenges and share best practices for growing high functioning, diverse and inclusive school communities.
The morning kicked off with Head of School, Ellen Stein introducing the inspiring keynote speaker, Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore. He told the mesmerizing story of his upbringing and how important certain people were in his life. The Q&A that followed reflected the unbridled enthusiasm from both the audience and Wes for making a difference in schools today. He was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with just the students of the conference where the force of his personality and message made an inspired and indelible impression.
Past Dalton parent, Melinda Wolfe, set the stage for the day’s work ahead and used her expertise to offer participants tools for action. Melinda’s commitment to diversity initiatives at Dalton has a long history including chairing the Board’s Diversity Committee during the creation of the strategic plan.
The unique conference accented the importance of sharing the experiences and perspectives of the wider independent school community in order to move toward solutions for individual schools. To that end, each school sent a Pod, a delegation made up of two people in each of the following constituent groups: administrators, alumni, diversity coordinators, faculty, parents, students and trustees. Over 30 Dalton volunteers were trained as discussion facilitators who conducted the morning session where each constituent group had in depth discussions which informed the afternoon session where the school Pods met to collaborate on action steps to bring back and implement at their school.
This conference was developed by the Community Life & Diversity committee of the Board of Trustees. Many thanks to chair Casper Caldarola ’77 and conference committee chairs Liz Curtis, Lissie Diringer, Amy Hikida, Richele Jordan-Davis, Dominica Jones Samuels and the over 40 parent, administrator, faculty and student volunteers who worked on this conference.