By Ethan Lachman ’21
The annual Pollyanna Conference took place on Nov. 11 at the Middle School. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Associate Director of Admissions Janine Jones organized the conference along with Middle School Dean Karen Fukushima, Upper School Dean Chris Jones and Director of Financial Aid Melanie León.
The Pollyanna Conference, which focused on matters such as race, privilege and community building, included guest speaker Tricia Jones, the Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. Jones explained that there were more than 175 participants from 14 different independent schools. Each school was instructed to send two people to represent the administrators, faculty, diversity practitioners, alumni, students, school trustees and parents. Jones said she thought it was a successful day, and she had a few favorite moments.
“My two favorite parts of the Pollyanna Conference were the student presentation portion and the school POD,” Jones said.
Additionally, faculty and staff participated in a professional development day on Nov. 10 at the Middle School. Jones also organized the event and she said that the goals for both the Pollyanna Conference as well as Professional Development Day were related. She said that the main topic for the Professional Development Day was to instruct the faculty and staff on how to teach the fundamentals about structural racism and how to discuss those topics in open and honest ways.
Faculty participants shared their thoughts on the day.
“It felt in some ways liberating to be able to speak openly and freely within small groups, to share my own perspective and then to also learn how others on campus feel about diversity,” English and Communications Teacher Michael Chavez said.