Sanford Participates in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workshop
On October 11th, 21 Sanford faculty, administrators, and board member Lisa Lloyd-Washington attended the annual Multicultural Resource Center@Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (MCRC@ADVIS) conference, which was hosted by Tower Hill School in Wilmington. Sanford’s representatives joined more than 800 attendees from the mid-Atlantic region to focus on educational strategies and classroom practices for building and supporting a welcoming and inclusive school community.
Faculty from all three divisions were joined by their division heads as they heard keynote addresses from nationally known authors and multicultural specialists Tim Wise and Julie Lythcott Haims. These experts shared their research, experiences, and wisdom on how to create more inclusive school environments. Additionally, there were sixty workshop presentations led by a wide variety of people that addressed five specific areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI):
Building Capacity: Skills, Competencies, and Processes for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion;
Equity & Inclusion Exemplars: Programs, Models, Best Practices, Promising Next Practices;
Organizational Development & Institutional Change for Equity and Inclusion;
Racial and Ethnic Identities: Developmental Models, Frameworks, Approaches;
Social Justice, Activism & Allyship from the Classroom to the Community; Social/Cultural Identifiers.
Topics ranging from “Owning Our Bias and Its Impact on Our Students” to “You Are All of Your Identities; Pluralizing the Idea of the Self” to “Challenging the Culture of Cruelty: Understanding and Defeating Race and Class Inequity in America” were offered to attendees. According to the MCRC@ADVIS website, “Participants were challenged to explore their own ideas and practices while gaining skills to build safe spaces, engage in constructive conversations, and advocate for change.”
Sanford’s Savannah Shepherd '20 and her mother Amy, director of DEI at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, DE, offered a workshop entitled “One Student CAN Make a Difference in the Quest for Social Justice.” Savannah used her journey to have a historical marker installed to honor the only documented lynching in Delaware as a way to inspire others to seek social justice. She reminded attendees that one voice, even that of a young person, can be a powerful tool for positive change.
Sanford’s most recent strategic plan outlines its goals with regard to DEI, a core value of the school. It is a big undertaking to send such a large number of faculty to a conference during a school day, but Sanford is committed to creating an environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion. Head of Upper School Abbi Smith summarized: “It was exciting to take such a large group of faculty to this event, as each participant was able to learn and reflect and bring back this learning to our community. The workshops were both affirming and inspiring, and the keynotes highlighted both the challenges and the critical importance of creating equitable spaces in our schools.”