Friends School has been sending faculty and staff teams to the National Association of Independent School (NAIS)’s annual People of Color Conference (PoCC) on and off since 2003. This conference equips educators from teachers to trustees with resources to enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools. This national gathering also provides a safe space for leadership teams to discuss issues that matter to them and their students, and to better prepare them to address the academic and social-emotional outcomes for students and adults alike. As we’ve seen over the years, this conference has been very helpful in providing professional development (and networking opportunities) for faculty and staff of color, along with their allies.
This year, SF Friends School’s team of attendees included Middle School Humanities Teacher Raymond Artis, Director of Admission Yvette Bonaparte, PE Teacher Sunné Clarke, and Director of Community Engagement Guybe Slangen.
Guybe says: “My first PoCC was in Boston in 2007 while I was at the Head-Royce School in Oakland. I remember being overwhelmed (in a good way) by all there was to absorb. From the speakers to the workshops, and from the networking to the affinity groups, I came back informed, inspired, and ready to do the work to make my school more equitable and inclusive for all. Since then I have attended off and on, and while the locations have changed from year to year, the impact of the conference remains strong. This year in Anaheim was PoCC’s 30th anniversary with over 6000 attendees from around the country, including over 1,500 students. I was grateful for the opportunity to engage with and learn from others, hear amazing speakers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kimberlé Crenshaw, all the while refueling my commitment to help move our school community forward.”
“I find the People of Color Conference useful, refreshing, and it definitely helps me to learn more about myself and the people I work with," says Sunné . "This is my eighth year attending, and every year I come away with some new and exciting goals to pursue. For instance, I’ve learned how to start and collaborate with colleagues at Friends to create affinity groups. I’ve also developed a nice network of people from other schools where I can lean on to gather more information. It amazes me that every year the workshops are always so different yet relevant to the work I do as an educator. POCC has also inspired me to develop skills to work in a leadership role. My hope every year is not only to attend the conference again but also to inspire others to attend because anyone can benefit from this wonderful conference.”