In early December, five Tower Hill teachers attended People of Color Conference (POCC), sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. This year the conference took place in Philadelphia. Simultaneously, six of our Upper School students attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC).
Lower School Head Jackie Hamilton is a member of the national planning committee through the NAIS Call to Action (CTA) Board, which is the national think tank and advisory council on diversity. The CTA focuses on equity in independent schools, inclusive and equitable educational communities, best practices for its member schools and opportunities for mutual support and professional development for its members. As a former chair of the conference, she played a key role the Philadelphia conference by chairing the workshop committee. About People of Color Conference (POCC)
At POCC 3813 teachers, including Jackie Hamilton, Arturo Bagley, Dyann Connor, Erica Shipley, Ann Clay, and Ida Leader, came together to discuss and explore many issues regarding diversity in our schools: curriculum, clubs, age appropriate activities, faculty and student support. Featured speakers included Wes Moore, Patti Solis Doyle, Lorene Cary, and Martin Nesbitt. The faculty came back from the conference with new ideas and motivation.
This year we had the special treat of attending a workshop led by Tower Hill's history teacher Arturo Bagley. Mr Bagley's workshop was called "Instigators of Change: Youth in the Civil Rights Movement in History and Film." He examined the role young people played in the Civil Rights Movement and the ways that involvement has been portrayed in films. He presented the strengths and weaknesses of film as a medium to convey history and encouraged the audience to consider portrayals of young people as a means of engaging current students in historical studies.
- By Ida Leader, Spanish Teacher About the Student Diversity Leadership Conference
Vivian Prieto, Ava Borowski, Jody Lanza-Gregory, Levi Gray, Alexandria Churchwell, and Rodney Orr attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). On the first day, we all met together for the opening ceremony--all 1500 students. We spent a lot of our time divided in family groups, which had about 60 students. We knew no one in our family groups; we were surrounded by strangers. However, these strangers were accepting and open-minded people, excited to meet us and learn about where we were from. After an initial period of awkwardness, the walls within our family fell down. We all became suddenly very close. I developed a really close circle of friends from around the country that I will continue to stay in touch with for a long time. More than anything, SDLC gave me hope that there are people in the world who are very different than me, but still accept me for who I am.
- By Vivian Prieto, Class of 2012