May 2023 Update from Pollyanna
May 2023
Dear Friend,
  “Hosting the Pollyanna Conference presented important opportunities for us as a school that was already committed to diversity and social Justice but could benefit from a mechanism to deepen our understanding and our commitments, including the opportunity to:
  • identify a topic we wanted to further explore that would guide our work for the year and beyond
  • collaborate with our peer schools to address shared challenges and generate tailored solutions
  • engage in cross constituent dialogue honoring all of the voices in our community.”
 - Mikki Murphy, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community, Far Brook School, NJ  
Last month, Pollyanna hosted an online information session for school’s interested in hosting one of our two conference models, the Multi-School or Intra-School Conference. (Feel free to check out the slide deck and informational hand-out.) Reviewing the conference process, and hearing voices like Mikki’s extol the benefits of hosting a conference, reminded me that these gatherings are truly the “heart and soul” of how Pollyanna accomplishes its mission of developing stronger communities. Collaborating with schools to create whole days focused on discussing specific DEIB topics has always been a central pillar of Pollyanna’s offerings.
Though Pollyanna Conferences are centered on creating meaningful dialogue between school communities and constituencies, they are so much more than “just talk.” Among the changes and initiatives schools have implemented based on action plans created at a Pollyanna Conference are:
  • Adding a DEI Director 

  • Establishing DEIB Board Committees 

  • Examining and Amending School Policies with an Equity and Inclusion Lens  

  • Implementing Curriculum Assessments 

  • Creating Affinity Spaces across the Identity Spectrum

As we begin to leave the isolation of the pandemic behind us fully, there has never been a better time to reconnect, face-to-face, across constituencies, in meaningful, constructive dialogue. I am so proud that Pollyanna Conferences have been creating these spaces for over a decade and I am eager for more schools to bring these models to their community.
If you are looking ahead to next year and hoping to bring a powerful, DEIB-centered day to your school community, please reply to this email and we’ll schedule a time to talk. I would love to share more with you about our Conferences.
Casper Caldarola

In the News

Pollyanna Workshops in San Francisco
Jason Craige Harris delivered two engaging sessions on practicing gender inclusion at Drew—one to parents & guardians and another to students, faculty, and staff. He argued that gender stereotypes negatively impact us all, but if we expand the stories we tell about gender, we can make the world a safer and more dignity-affirming place for all.
Pollyanna Conference in San Diego
The power of each Pollyanna Conference model is to purposefully drown out the noise and bring us back to our greatest and most practical sources of wisdom: each other. Email for more info.
May 13 Final Teen Council Meet-up 
All 13- to 18-year-olds are invited to join us for our last meet-up of this school year with artist David Rampersad. We come together for monthly discussions to learn how the student voice matters. Students may sign up on our page to receive the Zoom link. After this session, we'll take the summer to plan for the next school year!
Summer School?!
Get ready for some fun in-person and online learning this summer. Pollyanna will collaborate with AISAP at its Annual Institute and NYSAIS this summer, and we will also host several online workshops. The schedule will be announced shortly.
Reach Out if We Can Be of Help with Your DEIB Planning
Pollyanna advances systemic change by developing stronger communities.
Pollyanna works with academic and other institutions to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Through its unique conference models, discussion platforms, and racial literacy curricula, Pollyanna increases cultural competence.
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