Yesterday, our association of Northwest independent schools stated its unequivocal support for educational equity by organizing our annual educators conference around themes of inclusivity and transformational moments. The conference drew 1,500 attendees, historically its largest draw. Our conference planning committee was extremely thankful to Lakeside School for hosting this large event.
The conference consisted of two keynote presentations, several featured presentations, and dozens of participant-led workshops. MK Asante started the day off with a gripping, humorous, and emotional accounting of his youth and how one critical moment in an independent school saved his life.
Featured speakers delivered superb workshops during the day. Presenters included Alison Park, Janice Toben, Elizabeth McLeod, Michael Gurian, Thomas Hoerr, Jennifer Bryan, Heather Clark, Rosetta Lee, Maketa Wilborn, and Cindy Goldrich.
Northwest teacher leaders and program directors led the breakout sessions, which covered topics from Writing as Healing to STEM Educators for Social Justice. Attendees expressed a ton of enthusiasm for these peer-led session, as audiences filled the rooms and flowed out the doors. U Prep was proud to lead four breakout sessions.
When classrooms proved too small, people got creative and went outdoors.
Phillip Craig From Oregon Episcopal School created a unique “sacred space” in the Lakeside library. I was very impressed by how the environment brought together concepts of mindfulness, contemplation, consideration of others, and spirituality. Most of our schools have nothing like this.
I attended the featured presentation by Heather Clark, instructor of anthropology at the UW and teacher at Rainier Scholars. Heather skillfully guided the audience through an anthropological perspective on diversity and inclusivity, interspersed with examples from participants.
Steven Jones delivered the closing keynote, “Manage or be Managed by our Unconscious Bias.” Jones began with a personal recollection of the Million Man March, which took place 20 years ago. Attendance was still robust at the end of the day, reflecting attendees’ engagement and interest.
Here is the Twitter “transcript” of the conference.