Orchard Faculty & Staff Members Attended The NAIS People of Color Conference. They Returned Eager to Share!

Two weeks ago, seven Orchard faculty and staff members attended the NAIS People of Color Conference in Nashville, and they were not alone. A record breaking 6400 people were in attendance for the 31st anniversary of the PoCC!
This year’s theme was Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, and the Notes in Between. All themes that align with Orchard’s commitment to equity and justice in teaching and learning.
Our faculty and staff members were so moved by this extraordinary conference, and they couldn’t wait to implement their new knowledge with the Orchard community. Their powerful recaps are listed below! 

Picture (L to R):
Allison Housefield—5th Grade Teacher 
“For many, one of the highlights of PoCC is spending time with race-based affinity groups. Being a white person attending the People of Color Conference, I have to admit that I was initially hesitant to participate. I understood the value of affinity groups, but I didn’t quite see how being in a room with a bunch of white people talking about our whiteness was going to help me be a better teacher, friend, or human. Surprise! I was wrong!”
Sherri Helvie—Head of School 
“As NAIS Vice President of Equity and Justice Caroline Blackwell noted at the opening conference presentation: “Cultivating racial equity and justice is PoCC’s mission.”  It was a powerful framework for our shared time together, and the seven of us have returned from the conference eager to apply our learning, and our questions, to the work that we do at Orchard across our departments and academic divisions.”
Krystal Wood—Admissions Assistant 
“I think the most important workshop for me was about creating a resilient school culture in this day and age. With all the cruel things being said and done, all students need to know is that when they walk into their school, they all are love and respected.”
Taleesha Martin—1st Grade Teacher 
It is powerful in a sense that it empowers attendees to go back to their schools with a better understanding of what it is like being the minority, and how to teach your students the importance of equality. 
Lisa Pryor—MS Health & Physical Education 
“Togetherness is one main concept that I have taken away from the conference this year. We all have a desire to be authentically seen and heard, but this cannot happen unless we fully show-up and bring who we are to the table. I was in need of this reminder. It can be easy to get caught up in the negativity and to see all that is wrong in our world.”
Julie Wingate—Preschool Teacher 
“As a multiage preschool teacher, it is clear that opinions are being formed even before our students come to school. Encouraging open dialogue and respectful conversations is paramount.”
Jessica Aiyasami—Admissions Coordinator 
“Through workshops, globally recognized speakers, data driven research and affinity group work, PoCC reminds me of my worthiness and it helps me find the words to advocate for those who are included in our numbers but may be less seen, less heard and less valued.”
Read more from Jessica here.

Here's a video recap from the conference:


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