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.
Welcome and Morning Keynote
As we were waiting for the 2019 AISNE Diversity-Equity-Inclusion conference to start, the person sitting to my right leaned over to introduce himself. I recognized his name immediately, since Clyfe Beckwith is the Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning at Andover, from which my son graduated. I knew about some of the school’s more recent initiatives through newsletters and, as we got to talking about Andover’s firm and ongoing commitment to looking honestly at how they are supporting their kids and taking concrete steps to grow continually, one of the themes became (as morning keynote speaker Dr. Philip McAdoo would put it) how to transition a school from head to heart. The perfect introduction to the day!
Tomorrow, as two middle schoolers announced in a housemeeting presentation on Tuesday, is National Coming Out Day. You knew they were thinking intersectionally right from their title slide as they chose the eight-stripe version of the rainbow flag, introduced in 2017 by the Philadelphia More Color More Pride campaign in order to be explicitly inclusive of Black people and other people of colour.
“It's your journey, do it the way you wanna do it." — Tan FranceTonight, GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) members will gather to make signs for the Northampton Pride parade tomorrow. I won’t be there, but I can imagine the scene. Rainbows, glitter, and affirmation will abound, and mingle with stories and wry jokes. Occasionally, something going on on “ Queer Eye” will grab everyone’s attention. And then, as the laughter subsides and eyes return to posters-in-progress, conversations will resume.
Today is the annual Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN. Some of the students in our Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) are choosing to participate, maintaining silence throughout the class day to call attention to the figurative silence of the closet in which many LGBTQ+ people live, whether wholly or partially. Following GLSEN guidelines, teachers have been asked to support the kids, bending where possible to allow them to maintain their silence in the classroom (for example, writing out answers to questions or doing board work) with the understanding we might also ask them to participate vocally in cases where that might genuinely be necessary. At the end of the day, the kids will gather for a three-minute long period of silence followed by a ritual (read: loud and joyful) breaking of the silence.
On Saturday, January 19, eight members of the Stoneleigh-Burnham community attended a diversity conference, 'Everybody, Everybody': Reimagining Gender and Sexuality in Our Schools," hosted by Vermont Academy. Our group, or “pod” in the terminology of the Dalton Conference model, represented a past and present cross section of students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, alums, and trustees.
This page is meant to represent current thinking on the fundamentals of how we see gender and sexuality based on the writings of experts and the reported lived experiences of people of a diversity of gender and sexuality.
Okay, I’m just going to say it, controversial or not.
I use a Gillette razor. Always have, and still do.
Whew. Glad to get that off my chest.
I had an excellent day at the 2018 AISNE Diversity Conference. I attended:
- Opening Keynote: “Understanding & Dismantling Privilege: The Importance of Disrupting White Silence, by Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility
- Workshop I: “Transgender Student, Faculty, and Family Experiences,” a panel facilitated by Alex Myers
- Student Panel: “Be Inspired: Student Voices, facilitated by Erica Ramirez
- Workshop II: “Using Oppressed Identities to Face White Privilege," with Robin Di Angelo
- Closing Keynote: “Beyond Tolerance: LGBTIQAP Students and the Need for Loving Policies & Practices,” by Darnell Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire
Of course there was a point on the ride out to Boston where the kids were singing show tunes. How could there not be?! Singing “We raise a glass...” from “La Vie Bohème” at the top of their lungs, they all clinked their Dunkin’ Donut cups, their faces lit up by smiles.