2019 Po Cc Hero

Diversity

Faculty Engage with Community at People of Color Conference

Twenty-eight Northwest School faculty members of color attended the National Association of Independent School’s 2019 People of Color Conference (PoCC), held at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), on Dec. 4-7, 2019. The PoCC aims to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools.

“Attending the conference felt overwhelming and amazing,” says choir teacher Christian Stallworth. “I’ve never seen that many people of color who are also in teaching at one point in time. To see all the educators, administrators, and faculty was phenomenal.”

Alongside the the PoCC conference, six Northwest School students attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SLDC) also held in the WSCC. SLDC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community.

In addition to the number of attendees at PoCC, two Northwest School faculty members presented workshops and seminars, Humanities teacher Harumi LaDuke was on the PoCC Planning Committee, and our Upper School Orchestra performed in front of thousands of attendees prior to one of the keynote speakers, Anand Giridharadas.

Northwest’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Anshu Wahi was one of the presenters for the full-day seminar titled “Ally is a Verb: The Role of White Educators at PoCC and Beyond.” She presented alongside Xiomara Hall, from the Chapin School in New York, Randy Clancy, from the CARLE Institute, Hannah Lucal, from the Center for Racial Justice in Education, and Elena Jamie, from The Brick Church School in New York.

Assistant Head of School Meg Goldner Rabinowitz and Mirangela Buggs, the Director of Equity and Diversity Engagement at the Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey, facilitated a workshop called “Equity, Solidarity, and Allyship: How Do We Cultivate These Across Racial and Ethno-Religious Identities in America?”

Math teacher Richard Ha attended five workshops and he said he gained both professional and personal insights. One workshop he attended on grading for equity reminded him to tweak his own grading practices.

“The workshop broadened our perspective on how grading has been done historically, and how we need to look at it from an equity lens,” says Richard. “We need to remember that there are different levels of opportunity in education, and we shouldn’t just award students who enter a class with the privilege of already knowing the material.”

Many Northwest support faculty also attended PoCC. Amina Loftin, Northwest’s Accounts Payable and Payroll Coordinator, said she met with five of her coworkers each morning of the conference and walked down together.

“What I wanted most out of PoCC was ways I can learn to help our students of colors more,” says Amina. “I have a relationship with many of our students and I learned tips and ways I can help our students navigate this educational space.”