Summary: Bill Ivey’s day at the 2019 AISNE Diversity-Equity-Inclusion conference

October 29, 2019 by Bill Ivey

On October 24, 2019, I attended the 2019 AISNE Diversity-Equity-Inclusion conference. A recurring theme through the day (as articulated by keynote speaker Dr. Philip McAdoo) was transitioning schools from head to heart.

Dr. McAdoo noted the importance of asking and being willing to face the tough questions and, in his session on preserving one’s sanity when one is the only voice in the room, Lawrence Alexander II would pick up on this theme, noting that we need to take an honest look at ourselves and how skilled we are both at actually speaking up and at looking for and seizing on opportunities to integrate other people into the work. In framing how to build effective coalitions, he said, these four questions could serve as useful guidelines:

  1. Are we truly the only voice?
  2. For whom might this be an issue?
  3. Who needs to be in the room with us?
  4. In what rooms should we be?

Pascale Musto and James Greenwood facilitated a session on recruiting, empowering, and retaining faculty of color. They did an industry-wide climate study in 2008 and a follow-up in 2018, and the trends are for racial awareness to be increasing but also for incidents of racism and tolerance of racism to be increasing as well. We need to have more conversations about race that are not simply precipitated by specific events. We can also be more deliberate about cultivating leadership and networking with others, for example sending faculty of color to workshops and institutes, attending job fairs for people of colour, and passing on a strong candidate to other schools if their skill set does not match well with our exact needs. And we must build a truly inclusive culture.

This latter theme proved a good prelude to Carla Pugliese’s session on creating cohesive, intersectional communities. She led us in thinking about:

  1. What are our own intersecting identities?
  2. How do those play out in general and in schools in terms of power and privilege, oppression and marginalization?
  3. What are the bottlenecks in our communities (in terms of qualifications, developmental factors, and resources)?
  4. Which intersections are and are not being well served - who can and can not navigate the community with ease?

In her closing keynote, Dr. Ali Michael spoke on building the beloved community, reminding us that racism and internal bias fracture us and that the ultimate goal is the pursuit of wholeness.

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A longer and much more detailed write-up of the day is also available on the school blog.

Written by Bill Ivey

A dedicated member of the faculty, Bill Ivey is the Middle School Dean at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. He teaches Humanities 7 and the Middle and Upper School Rock Bands. Bill is the advisor for MOCA, the middle school student government, and he coordinates and participates in the middle school service program. Among his many hats, Bill also coordinates social media for Stoneleigh-Burnham School.

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Filed Under: anti-racism, equity, diversity, inclusion, LGBTQ+ Support, AISNE