October 25 & 26, 2023
Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center
1657 Worcester Rd
Framingham, MA 01701
“Individual Growth & Community Change”
Educators and school leaders have the enormous potential to generate change. Schools are centers of the community, nurturing spaces for young minds, and centers of thought leadership and knowledge. Through the close relationships your stakeholders hold with families, schools are positioned to supply the ‘unity’ in ‘community’ and lead efforts to ensure a sense of belonging for everyone.
Come to AISNE’s annual event centered on the work of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. It is work that runs across all aspects of a school’s operations—from student life to the business office, from academics to human resources. Bring all members of your school staff and faculty to this 2-day event and make intentional time to enrich your practice with new ideas and connections. You will come away with best practices for making actionable change within your community, and a renewed commitment for building learning environments for every student.
AISNE Members save $100/pp compared to non-members. Not a member? Join today.
|Number of Attendees
||AISNE Member Schools
|1 – 3
| 4 – 9
| 10 – 19
We strive to create an inclusive learning environment for all. If you have any questions or accessibility needs, please contact us at email@example.com.
We encourage you to stay on site to maximize the community feel of the event and fully experience the program. AISNE has a contracted room block with the Sheraton Framingham.
Rooms are $195/nt + tax. Must book by September 18, 2023.
Agenda at a Glance
Wednesday, October 25
- 10:00 – 11:00 AM | DEI Conference Registration and Networking
- 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM | Opening Keynote & Panel Discussion
- 12:15 – 1:15 PM | Lunch by Role
- 1:30 – 2:45 PM | Topic Sessions
- 2:45 – 3:15 PM | Ask the Experts
- 3:15 – 4:30 PM | Aspiring Allies Workshop
- 3:15 – 4:30 PM | People of Color Facilitated Discussion & Peer Community
- 4:30 – 5:00 PM | Ask the Experts
- 5:00 – 7:00 PM | Dine-on-Your Own
- 7:30 – 9:00 PM | Community Celebration: ¡Salsa y Sangría!
Thursday, October 26
- 8:00 – 8:45 AM | Breakfast
- 8:00 – 8:45 AM | LGBTQIA+ Peer Community Breakfast
- 9:00 – 10:00 AM | Keynote: Schuyler Bailar
- 10:15 – 11:30 AM | Topic Sessions
- 11:30 AM – 1:15 PM | “The Story Bridge” Performance & Lunch
- 1:30 – 2:45 PM | Topic Sessions
- 3:00 – 3:30 PM | Closing Peer Panel & Reflections
Wednesday, October 25 | 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Dr. Gholdy Muhammad | Unearthing Joy: Culturally & Historically Responsive Curriculum
Followed by a Panel Discussion
This multi-part keynote will first center on joy as a core component of culturally responsive curriculum. A panel will then explore how joy fits into the broader school community as an essential catalyst for building unity across diverse stakeholders. Celebrated educator Dr. Gholdy Muhammad will define joy as more than celebration and happiness, but also as wellness, beauty, healing, and justice for oneself and humanity. She will lay out her innovative model of culturally responsive literacy instruction and show how joy is an indispensable component that animates the human soul. Dr. Muhammad will then be joined by a panel of independent school DEI leaders and principals of the anti-racism organization A Long Talk. The panel will delve into how the work of DEI can bring the “unity” into community and be the genesis for the school as a place of belonging for all.
Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad is an Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has previously served as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist, school district administrator, curriculum director, and school board president. She studies Black historical excellence in education, intending to reframe curriculum and instruction today. Dr. Muhammad’s scholarship has appeared in leading academic journals and books. She has also received numerous national awards and is the author of the best-selling book, Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. Her Culturally and Historically Responsive Education Model has been adopted across thousands of schools and districts across the US and Canada. Gholdy was named the American Educational Research Association Division K Early Career Award and the 2021 NCTE Outstanding Elementary Educator in the English Language Arts. She has led a federal grant with the United States Department of Education to study culturally and historically responsive literacy in STEM classrooms. Her latest book, Unearthing Joy, provides a practical guide for putting culturally and historically responsive education into curricular practice.
Wednesday, October 26 | 9:00 – 10:00 AM
Schuyler Bailar | Terminology and Taking Steps Toward Allyship
How do we talk about gender? And why does it matter? Educator and advocate Schuyler Bailar joins us to talk about the importance of language in the work of inclusion and belonging. He will share his own story as a transgender athlete and citizen, and demonstrate the importance of allyship to the trans community. Schuyler will paint an expansive view of what allyship looks like at both the adult and student levels. He will share steps individuals and communities can take to make school communities inclusive, and answer your questions about how you can enact change in your school.
Schuyler Bailar (he/him) is an educator, advocate, and author of He/She/They: How We Talk About Gender and Why It Matters. At Harvard, Schuyler became the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team. Schuyler’s exemplary work has earned him numerous honors including NYC Pride Grand Marshall, the Out100, LGBTQ Nation’s Instagram Advocate of the year, and the Harvard Director’s Award. In addition to being one of the top LGBTQ+ educators, Schuyler is a leading DEI speaker and advisor who has been featured in countless media outlets. He offers diverse avenues for learning through his podcast “Dear Schuyler,” his online workshops, his fiction novel, Obie Is Man Enough, and his groundbreaking gender literacy online learning series, LaneChanger.com. Schuyler holds a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology from Harvard, and continues his academic pursuits in four research labs focusing in clinical psychology and public health.
Wednesday, October 25 | 1:30 – 2:45 PM
Me & Transphobia
Presented by: Schuyler Bailar, Educator & Author
When you become an ally of transgender people, your actions will help change the culture, making society a better, safer place for transgender people and for all people (trans or not) who do not conform to conventional gender expectations. This session is a chance to step into the work—heart first. Schuyler will share his pride and experiences with the transphobia the world continues to hurl at him and other trans and non-binary persons—from being told he is unlovable to relationships where his body was seen as “a problem.” He will share his journey of self-acceptance and love. There will be an opportunity to examine yourself, too, and walk through unpacking internal bias, navigating interactions as an ally, and time for your questions to be answered.
Embracing Neurodiversity in Our Schools
Presented by: Brandon Boston and Tanya Lynch, Founders at The Boston Group
The landscape of education is ever-evolving, and with that, so is the makeup of our classrooms and schools. Students come to us with varying abilities in all academic and non-academic endeavors. As we become more aware of the neurodiversity of our population, general education teachers have a responsibility to meet the needs of all learners in their classrooms. Through the use of simulations, participants will have the opportunity to step inside the shoes of a student who has challenges with reading and listening comprehension, written expression, attention and executive function; experiencing firsthand the daily struggles that many learners face. By developing empathy and building an increasing awareness of the vast diversity of the students sitting in our classrooms, educators will leave this workshop with concrete and actionable strategies to support all learners.
Up Your Game: Dismantling Physical Disability Bias Through Education and Sport
Presented by: Nico Calabria, Lead Educator, and Dana Ross Rogers, Executive Director at Bionic Project
This workshop aims to provide windows and mirrors around physical disability for all participants while exploring themes of access, inclusion, and privilege. We will begin with an engaging presentation involving reading, film, and discussion about disability bias. We will then move to an adaptive sports clinic where participants will be coached by the Captain of the US Men’s Amputee Soccer team while trying soccer on crutches.Come away with valuable vocabulary, teaching techniques, and perspectives related to physical disability. You will gain a deeper understanding of how better design of our schools and public buildings, along with increased inclusion in youth sports, can build empathy and connection from a young age.
Cultivating a Culture of Anti-Racism
Presented by: Kamal Carter, President, and Kyle Williams, Chief Empowerment Officer at A Long Talk
Learn a “new language” for challenging racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, and any form of ignorance you see present in your community. In this session, you will practice conversation and language skills with other participants and leave with a digital study guide to help you continue to develop your ability to be an “upstander.” This session is open to everyone—we especially encourage those who did not participate in the A Long Talk: An Anti-Racism Activation Experience workshop offered by AISNE earlier this month.
Elevating First Generation & Low-Income Identities following the Elimination of Race-Conscious Admissions
Presented by: Adj Marshall, Educator & DEIJ Trainer and Founder of the First Gen Summit
Education institutions are rapidly reconfiguring identity markers in admissions to elevate first-generation and low-income applicants following the recent SCOTUS decision on race-conscious admissions. These prospective students’ needs are rarely discussed in the independent K-12 landscape. Come learn the 50-year history of the first gen identity, its intersection with students’ social class identities, and the landscape of the FLI space in higher ed. You will leave with pathways for building policies and programming that support these students in your school.
Culturally and Historically Responsive Curriculum and Instruction
Presented by: Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago
This session is designed for people who work directly with curriculum and instruction within our school communities. Learn Dr. Muhammad’s framework and how to apply it in your school. This session is an opportunity for you to spend more time with Gholdy following the morning keynote.
Learn to Write Articles that Engage with the Pressing Issues of Our Time
Presented by: Adam Stumacher, Educator & Author
In this active workshop you will analyze published work and isolate the writing techniques that make them successful via a series of writing exercises. You will learn how to craft opinion columns based on your personal and professional experiences. You and your fellow participants will come away with a toolbox for becoming a powerful storyteller by connecting the pressing issues of our time to your experiences.
Thursday, October 26 | 10:15 AM – 11:30 AM
Behind the Curtain: The Personal and Professional Facets of Invisible Disabilities
- Sabrina Alampi, School Counselor at The Fessenden School
- Jalessa Anselm, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Tenacre Country Day School
- Josh Clark, Head of School at Landmark School
- Betsy O’Brien, Manager of Programs & Communications at Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE)
Our panel will share their personal experiences living with invisible disabilities and give guidance as to how you can be more inclusive in both your personal and professional lives. You will come away more mindful of the challenges others in your school community may be experiencing, and of ways you can be more inclusive, planful, empathetic, and patient. This session is open to all and may be of particular interest to HR professionals, Deans of Students and Faculties, and Heads of School
Transphobia & the World
Presented by: Schuyler Bailar, Educator & Author
Review anti-trans legislation in this “extra-time” session with keynote speaker, Schuyler Bailar. You will practice research-based responses to anti-trans rhetoric and discuss other ways you can provide allyship in the face of damaging legislation. There will be ample time for your questions.
A Collaboration Between Sustainability and DEIJ to Advance Strategic Initiatives
Presented by: Michael Buensuceso, Assistant Head of School for Community and Equity, and Sarah Jeanne Shumer, PK-12 Sustainability Coordinator at Berwick Academy
Come learn how one school struck a beneficial harmony between its DEIJ work and its Sustainability work. You’ll gain insights into the positive outcomes of running each department’s strategic plan in parallel, how Berwick Academy began each office, and how they have worked in concert with one another to advance both missions. You’ll leave with a roadmap of how to approach this work at your school in a collaborative and ally-focused fashion.
Focus on the Field: The Value of Creating Changemakers in Athletics
Presented by: Melissa Lawlor, Upper School Director of Equity and Inclusion at Milton Academy
Athletics is a great focus area to talk to students about being agents of change, but it’s even more meaningful when athletic directors, coaches, and student athletes engage in this work together. In this session, we will talk about our office’s efforts to partner with athletic directors and coaches, how to activate student athletes and coaches to become powerful agents of change in our communities, and how we started the ISL Changemakers Conference as a vehicle for change in our independent schools.
Using Data Graphs and Quantitative Maps to Analyze Social Issues
Presented by: Ayo Magwood, Consultant at Uprooting Inequity
Learn how to use data graphs and quantitative maps to allow students to explore and analyze complex societal challenges in nuanced, empirically-based, and engaging ways. These disciplines and tools allow students to engage in inquiry-based analysis of social, racial, and environmental justice issues by identifying and analyzing relationships, patterns, and trends in geographic, demographic, and economic indicators. Such projects also give instructors the opportunity to foster essential “data literacy” skills that students need to prepare them to critically assess claims in media and politics as informed citizens. You will receive extensive lists of resources you can explore and incorporate into your work.
Men’s Dialogue Initiative: Supporting & Interacting with Students who Identify as Young Men
Presented by: Kevin Pajaro-Mariñez, Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion at Phillips Exeter Academy
Traditional notions of masculinity confine young men to limited ideas about what it means to be a man. As a result, young men are less likely to seek emotional support in times of hardship and struggle with cultivating and sustaining healthy connections. Come learn how you can create reflective spaces for young men to process ideas related to masculinity. You will come away understanding the connection between critical reflection and systems of oppression in the context of masculinity and considerations for how to implement dialogue groups in their school community. Gain resources for supporting young men, including a sample dialogue facilitation guide that can be adapted to individual school community contexts.
Honoring Authenticity when Assimilation Is the Norm
Presented by: Kimberlee Yolanda Williams, Author and Founder of Engaging Across Difference
Ever wonder why you pretend to be someone you aren’t when you’re around those different from you? When we say inclusion, do we mean inclusion through assimilation? Explore innovative ways of moving towards authenticity and away from assimilation to truly become an inclusive school community. You will learn to identify the areas in which you have assimilated and abandoned your mother tongue, cultural practices, and self-expressions. You will also learn to reclaim the parts of yourself you left behind. You will be introduced to a framework and then have time to create, negotiate, and plan your own commitments.
Thursday, October 26 | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
Navigating Gender Identity in Single-Gender and All-Gender School Environments
Presented by: Sami Atif, Director of Equity and Inclusion at The Fessenden School
Jemmel Billingslea, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Dexter Southfield
Ruth Evee, Assistant Head of School for Student Experience at Fontbonne Academy
Elizabeth Grumbach, Lower School Science Teacher at Moses Brown School
Delve into the complexities of fostering genuine diversity, equity, and inclusion within both single-gender identifying schools and all-gender schools. We will explore how various school environments introduce and navigate discussions around gender and sexuality identities, drawing from experiences in four different school settings. The presenters will also share their schools’ ongoing efforts to communicate clear and constructive information with families. This includes discussing curriculum, policies, and support structures related to student gender and sexuality. This session will provide educators and administrators with valuable insights and practical strategies to create inclusive learning environments that honor and respect all gender identities.
Struggles and Networking Partnership of BIPOC Faculty in Independent Schools: A Roadmap to Inclusion and Equity
Presented by: Eddie Carson, Dean of Multicultural Education at The Governor’s Academy, Rick DaSilva, Director of Community and Equity Affairs at St. Mark’s School, and Raquel Majeski, Assistant Head of Equity & Community Life at Lawrence Academy
This session explores the multifaceted struggles faced by BIPOC faculty in independent schools, shedding light on the importance of networking as a powerful tool for addressing these challenges. We will look at how independent schools continue to grapple with systemic racial inequities within faculty ranks and the unique hurdles BIPOC educators encounter from historical biases, lack of representation, and cultural isolation. The presenters will share their stories and how they developed a professional relationship to navigate the independent school landscape. This will be a conversational presentation that will help illustrate the power of networking as a supportive and productive tool. This session offers both a critical and hopeful lens on many of the struggles BIPOC people face in independent schools—recruitment and retention, promotion and career advancement, tokenism, unconscious bias, and the burden of cultural representation.
Beyond Heroes and Holidays: Constructing Your Sustainable DEIB Program
Presented by: Linda Hughes, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Walnut Hill School for the Arts
This workshop will explore the core components of planning and running successful Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Together, we will examine some do’s and don’ts for programs and provide participants with practical takeaways to apply to their individual schools and work. The workshop will explore what factors can be controlled, how to navigate unforeseen circumstances, and how each factor may affect your programs in different ways.
Engaging Across Difference: Hand Me Your Bias, and I’ll Show You Our Connection
Presented by: Debby Irving, Educator and Author, and Kimberlee Yolanda Williams, Author and Founder of Engaging Across Difference
This workshop is a space for people of all racial identities to engage in unfiltered conversations about the experiences of Black and brown people. Attendees will focus on how to authentically and meaningfully discuss race across racial lines, an essential step for forging authentic friendships that embrace difficult conversations. Presenters Kimberlee and Debby will tear down the cycle of secrecy that can exist between white people and people of color, beginning with a fireside chat-style conversation and culminating with an opportunity to engage in scenarios and practice conversations.
Reconciling DEI Work and Political Tolerance
Presented by: Kent Lenci, Founder of Middle Ground School Solutions
Giving students the skills and dispositions that will equip them to eventually reach across lines of political divide is critical. At the same time, it can feel as if political tolerance risks sacrificing the ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion that are foundational to our schools’ work. This workshop hits this tension head on. Kent has engaged in lengthy discussions with DEI practitioners, social scientists, and bridge-building leaders beyond the K-12 world to crack this monumental puzzle. In this workshop, he will share the lessons he learned from these discussions and encourage you to lean into the unfinished work of balancing political tolerance with a commitment to equity and inclusion in your school. You will learn how educators—and people in other fields—have managed the tension between political diversity and DEI work more broadly. You will leave this session with newfound clarity about how to both encourage political tolerance and maintain a commitment to equity and inclusion, including a roadmap for communicating with parents amid the landscape of national polarization.
Impactful Inclusion and Belonging: Synthesis of Emerging Research and Best Practices
Presented by: Jenny Jun-lei Kravitz Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Rivers School
Learn about a multi-disciplinary approach for understanding key factors of enacting effective inclusion and authentic belonging in communities. We will focus on each vital factor as well as the totality of their combined implementation. You will take away experiences and examples for how to bring progressive DEI practices to students of all ages. This workshop will provide a deep understanding of the research behind effective inclusion and belonging as well as a toolbox of strategies for immediately applying this research in your school and making impactful change.
Engaging Your Radical Imagination to Create Radical Gender Inclusion
Presented by: Paran Quigley and Jonathan Wall, Middle and Lower School Equity Liaisons at Shady Hill School
This workshop aims to support you in thinking even more expansively about gender safety in your school communities. We will begin the workshop by sharing current gender-safe practices in schools and the impact they have on students and communities. We will discuss examples of radically queer community spaces and why those are positive, supportive places for folks of all gender identities. We will explore divergent thinking strategies to tap into our collective imagination as we envision ever more inclusive spaces. The workshop will conclude with participants using convergent thinking strategies to identify concrete next steps for radical gender inclusion in our school communities.
Meditation As a DEI Practice
Presented by: Susan Yao, Educator & Consultant
Mindful practices have become very popular in schools, but they are often taken out of context and appropriated. Meditation is not just about emotional regulation or personal stress reduction; it comes out of ancient liberatory practices. In particular, it has the potential to help peel back systems of oppression and internalized beliefs. Come hear about some experimental ways to use meditation to support DEI work at your school, such as teaching folx with privilege to literally sit with discomfort. Beginners welcome.
Join Your Peers
We look forward to welcoming your team, and educators, school leaders, and community supporters from the following schools:
- The Accord School
- Beaver Country Day School
- Belmont Hill School
- Berkshire School
- Boston College High School
- Brooks School
- Cambridge Friends School
- Cushing Academy
- Dedham Country Day School
- Emma Willard School
- Fay School
- The Governor’s Academy
- Groton School
- Kents Hill School
- Landmark School
- The Learning Project
- Miss Hall’s School
- Nantucket Lighthouse School
- The Pennfield School
- The Putney School
- Phillips Exeter Academy
- The Rivers School
- School One
- Schooling for Hope
- St. Mark’s School
- Tabor Academy
- Tenacre Country Day School
- Walnut Hill School for the Arts
- Waring School
- Washington Academy
- Waynflete School
- Wilbraham & Monson Academy
AISNE would like to extend its gratitude to our 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference Planning Committee Members:
- Ivy Alphonse-Crean, Dedham Country Day School, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Cendhi Arias Henry, Gordon School, Early Childhood Director
- Michael Buensuceso, Berwick Academy, Assistant Head of School for Community and Equity at Berwick Academy
- Edward Carson, Governor’s Academy, Dean of Multicultural Education
- Rene Davis, Kents Hill School, Associate Head of School
- Rick DaSilva, St. Mark’s School, Director of Community and Equity Affairs
- André Heard, Milton Academy, Associate Dean of Students
- Jenny Jun-lei Kravitz, Rivers School, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Meg Lloyd, Cardigan Mountain School, Dean of Students & Humanities Teacher (Not Pictured)
- Lisa Muñoz, Dublin School, Director of Equity, Justice, and Belonging
- Princess Sirleaf Bomba, Wheeler School, Director of Unity & Diversity
- William Wamaru, Pomfret School, Dean of Equity and Belonging
Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Cancellations and transfer requests must be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellations received up to 10 days before the start of the event will receive a 100% refund, less a $150 administrative fee. This fee covers the cost of our minimum commitments with our hotel partners; thank you for your understanding. Transfers of registrations from one person to another are permitted up to 3 business days before the start of the event.
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