Fifth Annual Diversity to Community Conference on Race • Privilege • Community Building
Twenty-four New York City independent schools joined Dalton as we hosted the Fifth Annual Dalton Conference On May 2, 2015. The topic this year was Race • Privilege • Community Building. Dalton’s 2007 strategic plan called for the Trustees Community Life & Diversity Committee to create a city-wide 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.
Ellen Stein introduced this year’s Conference with excerpts from her racial autobiography that set the tone for open conversations later in the day. Glenn Singleton, author of “Courageous Conversations About Race”, was the keynote and spoke of his childhood in Baltimore, his independent school experience, and current news stories. He challenged attendees to think about their own personal narrative to spur on conversations for the morning breakout session by constituent groups. Administrators, alumni, diversity coordinators, faculty, parents, students and trustees met separately to discuss challenges and efficacious practices within each school around the conference topic.
As in years past, the presentation by the students attending the Conference was the most moving. Middle and high school students presented thought-provoking testimonials and vignettes about their experiences in school and made concrete recommendations for moving forward.
We extend our thanks to the over 60 Dalton volunteers who made the day possible. They included conference committee chair and trustee Casper Caldarola '77; the dedicated conference planning committee Michele Barakett, Kathy Chan, Roxanne Feldman, Amy Hikida, Dominica Jones-Samuels, Emily Kasof, Natalie Sanchez and Monique Vogelsang; the incredible facilitators and student volunteers. Also, we would also like to thank the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for their support of the Conference.