November 2020 Update from Pollyanna
November 2020
Pollyanna officially turns 5 this fall! 
In a relatively short period of time, we have moved from hosting a conference in New York City to hosting conferences at schools across the country. We have developed a free K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum and Parent/Guardian Companion Guide that has been downloaded over 4,000 times from our website. We have partnered with schools and organizations on Community Assessments, parent education, and professional development. Most importantly, we have connected and formed relationships with thousands of individuals to forward the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
While we are amazed at our growth, we also recognize that, if we were a “human” 5 year old, we would be starting kindergarten, learning to read, making new friends, and trying to keep our shoes tied. For as far as we’ve come, we know the journey forward will bring more learning, more discovery, and, we hope, the joy and fulfillment that comes from deepening relationships and helping to transform communities into more welcoming and inclusive places for all. Who knows what we’ll be able to do when we’re 10?
As Election Day draws near, we wish to lift up the idea that free and open participation in the democratic process is, in and of itself, a means of creating a more just and equitable society. The act of voting should be free from fear and intimidation, as it is our most basic form of political inclusion. If you have not yet done so, please make a plan to vote. It is not too late. Every voice matters. Every vote matters. 
Pollyanna’s efforts to encourage participation have not been limited to voting. Over the course of the summer and fall, we have partnered with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) to publish a four chapter study entitled Civil Discourse in Independent Schools: The 2020 Election and Beyond. Using a nationwide survey of Heads of School, Senior Administrators, and Teachers at Independent schools, we highlighted educators’ hopes and fears as related to the 2020 election process at schools. We used this data to generate helpful resources and recommendations for civil discourse at all NAIS member schools. On Monday, October 19, Pollyanna partnered with NAIS to host a webinar on the topic of civil discourse that was attended by over 200 educators. Thank you to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for its support of this important project.
Some of the conditions of autumn 2020 were largely unimaginable when Pollyanna was founded in autumn 2015. If we were asked about where we saw ourselves in 5 years, it is doubtful we would have said, “In the middle of a life-changing viral pandemic, a ground-shifting movement for racial justice, and an election with possibly existential consequences for American democracy…all at the same time.” However, the threads of equity, inclusion, and justice currently tie all of these challenges together. Who has access to resources? Who can make their voice heard? What stories and narratives matter? Who is being silenced? These questions have always been at the heart of our work with schools and organizations from the beginning. Though no one could anticipate this moment 5 years ago, we feel like we are doing the work that matters most during a challenging time. 
Please consider celebrating Pollyanna's 5 years of impact by making a donation. Thank you for your continued support of this vital work.
All best,
Casper Caldarola

In the News

LA Kicks Off Conference Season
Harvard-Westlake’s 4th Pollyanna Conference took place on October 17 online. The theme this year was “Courageous Conversations: Learning to Connect Authentically and with Compassion,” featuring a total of 21 schools and Baratunde Thurston as the keynote speaker. This conference provided space to learn specific strategies for engaging in courageous conversations on numerous topics that easily divide our communities from race to gender to sexual orientation to religion to politics.
NAIS & Pollyanna Present Research Findings
On October 19, NAIS and Pollyanna held an online webinar diving into what school leaders across the country are doing to prepare for election season and hear tips for facilitating dialogue within a community. The webinar featured Caroline Blackwell and Amada Torres from NAIS and Jay Golon from Pollyanna, drawing from the findings featured in our collaborative series of reports aimed at fostering civil discourse in independent schools.


New Schools Join the Pollyanna Family:  We're excited to welcome Aveson Charter School in CA and St. Luke's School in CT.
Professional Development for K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum & New Topics:  We'll be back in January with all new professional development offerings. We will announce topics, dates and times in our December newsletter.
How Can We Be of Help This Year? Email for more information.

2020-21 Zoom Forums:  These forums are for educators and parents and are topic driven. Below is the schedule and the Zoom links:

1. Educator Forums: Each one will take place at 5:15PM ET and will last one hour. Please mark down these dates: November 5, December 7, January 21, February 22, April 8, May 17 and June 22. Each month we will publish the Zoom link in this newsletter.
Educator Forum #3: November 5, 2020 05:15 PM ET
Topic: Navigating Election Season
Meeting ID: 915 5862 7756 and Passcode: Bally
2. Parent/Guardian Forums: Please make note of the dates and different times. Each forum will last one hour. November 11, 7PM; February 18, 11AM; April 13, 7PM; June 23, 11AM.
Parent/Guardian Forum #2: November 11, 2020 7 PM ET
Topic: Navigating Election Season
Meeting ID: 917 0284 7444  Passcode: Bally
November 7, 2020: Far Brook in Short Hills will host its 5th Pollyanna Conference. Lift Every Voice: Centering the Student Experience in Building Anti-Racist Communities will be the focus of the day. The students have taught us so much this year, what a great way to honor them.
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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