October 2022 Update from Pollyanna
October 2022
Dear Friend,
As our country moves towards another pivotal election season, it would be easy to use fear as motivation to vote this November. Even a partial list of the events of the last few years is breathtaking, all on top of a global pandemic:
  • a racist and insurrectionist mob storming the US Capitol
  • the systematic rolling back of voting rights in many states
  • governors illicitly trafficking human beings to score political points
  • books being banned in schools and libraries
  • school board members and their families being physically threatened
  • women losing their constitutional right to exercise autonomy over their bodies. 
As an organization, Pollyanna has also watched these events unfold and wondered if there is truly room for our work within a society that seems ever more polarized, fractured, and undone.
Fortunately, as our name suggests, we are always able to find the good, to find the examples of people doing work based on hope and progress. This is what centers us in challenging times. One such example comes to us from a middle school in North Andover, Massachusetts.
As described by The New York Times, Carrie LaPierre’s 8th-grade class recently played the lead role in exonerating Elizabeth Johnson, Jr., the last person convicted over three hundred years ago in the Salem Witch Trials. The work engaged in by Ms. LaPierre and her students provides a perfect example of why deep civic engagement, and taking an honest look at our country’s history, are so important in our society’s current moment. 
“The effort to clear Ms. Johnson’s name was a dream project for the eighth-grade civics class, Ms. LaPierre said. It allowed her to teach students about research methods, including the use of primary sources; the process by which a bill becomes a law; and ways to contact state lawmakers. The project also taught students the value of persistence.” 
Moreover, one elected official in Massachusetts remarked, “These students have set an incredible example of the power of advocacy and speaking up for others who don’t have a voice.”
As we enter voting booths next month, it is completely legitimate to consider all that is “wrong” as motivation. I hope that you will be motivated by how your vote might help the people working tirelessly to make our country a more just and equitable place for all people. The students, the teachers, the nurses, the community advocates, and more; these are unsung heroes of justice and change.

This November, they need us not to give in to fear. They need us to speak up for people who don’t have a voice. They need us, so please get out and vote.
Casper Caldarola

In the News

4-Part Workshop for Teacher Leaders
Join Pollyanna facilitators Jaci Nelson and Jay Golon for a deep dive for teacher leaders of all racial identities who have consistently been doing the work in their school communities. Through cohort building, affinity spaces, and scenario-based practice, we will explore the opportunities and challenges of being a teacher leader striving to co-create more just and equitable communities.
Mark Your Calendars - October 15
We welcome educator Dr. Rodney Glasgow for a Q&A at the upcoming meeting. Pollyanna Teen Council is only for 13-18 year olds. We come together for monthly discussions and to learn how their voice matters. Sign up on our page to receive Zoom links.
After a Two Year Wait
“Rarely are we provided the opportunity and time across independent schools to partner, network, and reflect collectively on the progress we've made in the areas of justice, equity, and systemic change. Our speakers, Caroline Blackwell and Martha Haakmat, equipped us with the necessary tools to level up our work on inclusive hiring and retention practices. Our Pollyanna school network cannot wait for next year!“
Christen Tedrow-Harrison, Director of DEIB
Francis Parker School, San Diego
Community Bonding & Building Opportunity
Both conference models are a great way to bring community together, engage in conversations and generate actionable items to create schools where everyone belongs. Email us for more info.
Reach Out if We Can Be of Help with Your Planning for 2022-23
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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