In December, Bosque students and teachers traveled to Seattle, where students participated in the 2019 Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) and teachers attended the 2019 People of Color Conference (POCC) held by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). The Bosque School delegates at SDLC included Anelé ‘22, Ella ‘22, Elijah ‘22, and Hawthorn ‘22. The teachers who represented Bosque School at POCC included Tim Green, J'Shon Lee, Ebony Booth, and Arthur Knox. Ms. Booth described the conference as “a very full week of expansion, learning, and critical inquiry.”
Mr. Green explained the importance of attending POCC as a teacher. “For teachers, this professional development is an opportunity for people of color and allies working in private schools to share techniques, ideas, and strategies on how to create a fair and inclusive educational environment.” He added, “It is a reminder that we are all part of the America integration project that really only started 65 years ago. It is a place for teachers and allies to find solidarity and community with like-minded people ready to provide transformative educational experiences while practicing culturally sustaining pedagogies for students of color.
Mr. Green expressed how SDLC is an opportunity for students who are passionate about equity and inclusivity to learn the necessary skills and techniques necessary to implement and lead such change at their respective institutions. He said, “It is also a place of catharsis, as students understand that the systemic and personal racism that exists is not isolated to one region or institution, but is a bigger national issue that many other students of color, or traditionally marginalized students, are experiencing.”
Ms. Booth reflected, “This year was particularly special because we had the privilege of presenting as well as participating inside a community of over 7,000 NAIS members, educators, and students. Our week was deeply enriching and challenged us in many ways to expand, adjust, reframe, dismantle, reframe and sustain ourselves and our respective and collective communities. Each attendee's individuality informs their unique response and necessary period of reflection upon returning to the Bosque community. It can be difficult to articulate the takeaways from such an intense experience, but I have found that NAIS does an excellent job of providing recaps that might help frame the size and scope of the conference in a way that doesn't require our cohort to share right away.”
Experiences like POCC and SDLC are part of how Bosque School is working to expand and grow our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our community.