Dalton Hosts Conference for Schools on Cultivating Racial Awareness and White Engagement
Twenty-eight New York City independent schools joined Dalton as we hosted the Seventh Annual Dalton Conference On April 22, 2017. The topic this year was Cultivating Racial Awareness and White Engagement. Dalton’s 2007 strategic plan called for the Trustees Community Life & Diversity Committee to create a New York City conference aimed at creating an inclusive independent school community. The inaugural conference, Creating a Generation of Inclusive Thinkers and Community Leaders, was held in 2011. Subsequent conferences focused on, School Transitions: The K-8 Experience, Shaping and Sustaining Safe Schools for LGBTQ Members, and Socioeconomics, Race • Privilege • Community Building, and Intersectionality.
Head of School Ellen Stein welcomed attendees and introduced this year’s Conference with her own racial socialization story that set the tone for open conversations in the morning and afternoon. Dr. Ali Michael, the Director of K-12 Consulting and Professional Development at the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, was the keynote and spoke about her own racial socialization, and asked attendees to think about their own personal narrative to spur on conversations for the morning breakout session by constituent groups. To view Dr. Michael’s PowerPoint presentation, click here.
During the morning breakout session, administrators, alumni, diversity coordinators, faculty, parents, students and trustees met separately to discuss each person’s own story and effective practices within each school around White engagement. As in years past, Josh Bachrach and Natalie Sanchez guided the discussion for the students attending the Conference. The student presentation was very honest and moving. Middle and high school students presented thought-provoking testimonials and vignettes about their experiences in school and made concrete recommendations for moving forward. In the afternoon each of the 28 School POD’s met separately to discuss what they learned
We extend our thanks to the over 60 Dalton volunteers who made the day possible. They included conference committee chair Casper Caldarola '77 along with the dedicated conference planning committee Rena Andoh ’93, Josh Bachrach, Michele Barakett, Kathy Chan, Roxanne Hsu Feldman, Amy Hikida, Emily Kasof, Claire Riccardi, Natalie Sanchez and Monique Vogelsang; the incredible facilitators and student volunteers. We would also like to thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for their support of the Conference and KIND for supplying the delicious snacks during the day.
Story submitted by Conference Director Casper Caldarola '77