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CDS Team at People of Color Conference

Monday, December 10, 2018

Last week, a team of CDS educators had the opportunity to attend the 31st annual People of Color Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Our nine-person team was one of the larger contingents at the conference, and it featured members with a multitude of cultural backgrounds and teaching specialties. The group was led by Director of Inclusion Anthony Witte and included Head of School Shelly Luke Wille, Preschool Leaping Lizards teacher Alicia Perdue, First Grade Hawks teacher Reggie Foldes, Second Grade Octopuses teacher Kay Washington, Eighth Grade Humanities teacher Terry Ashkinos, Farm & Garden teacher Xochi Batlle, Middle School Counselor Wendy Macias Walker, and Head Receptionist George Lopez.

The People of Color Conference, run by the National Association of Independent Schools, provides educators with the “knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike.” More than 4,000 adults and over 1,600 students attended this year’s event, which featured a variety of speakers, workshops, and affinity groups.

The speakers included Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman (right); author Julie Lythcott-Haims, who recently discussed her most recent book Real American at a local parent education event; Marc Lamont Hill, professor of media studies at Temple University and former CNN political pundit, and many others. CDS faculty and staff attended numerous workshops, including “Real Talk Done Right” (on strategies for engaging school communities in vital conversations about race, class, and gender), “Old School Diversity to 21st Century Cultural Competency” (on the need to reframe the model of diversity used by most schools today), and “Fighting the Monster without Becoming the Monster” (on discussing the trend among politicians and activists alike to demonize their opponents).

This article only scratches the surface of our teachers’ experiences at PoCC, and we look forward to sharing more details in our upcoming diversity newsletter!