“Hosting the Pollyanna Conference presented important opportunities for us as a school that was already committed to diversity and social Justice but could benefit from a mechanism to deepen our understanding and our commitments.” 

 – Mikki Murphy, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community, Far Brook School, NJ


Conferences, connections, and conversations are the heart and soul of how Pollyanna accomplishes its mission of developing stronger and kinder communities. Each model centers on creating a stronger and kinder community, and generating actionable ideas by engaging schools across constituencies in meaningful, constructive dialogue that leverages the wisdom of every voice. 

Attending or hosting a conference has inspired school communities to make specific changes, such as:

    • Adding a DEIB Director role or office. 
    • Establishing a DEIB trustee committee.
    • Revising Dress Codes / Uniform policies to be more gender-fluid and inclusive.
    • Evaluating and updating the school curriculum to include more voices.
    • Creating LGBTQIA+ student affinity spaces.

Pollyanna’s conferences create spaces that inspire school communities to dream and grow into the best version of themselves.
Pollyanna currently offers three conference models:

      • Multi-School Conference 
      • Intra-School Conference 
      • School Leadership Conference

Multi-School Conference: Brings School Communities Together for DEIB Growth

A school that hosts a Multi-School Conference in a designated geographic region welcomes peer schools to discuss challenges and effective practices around a specific diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) topic. Each school sends a POD that includes 15 people representing all-school constituent groups, including two people from each group of administrators, alumni, diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners, faculty, parents, students, and trustees, and one head of school. Participants work together to generate actionable ideas to bring to their home communities. Hosting a Multi-School Conference is an incredible opportunity to establish your school as a regional leader in DEIB work.

The host school works with Pollyanna to identify an appropriate thematic topic, such as:

  • From Belonging to Inclusion
  • Creating a Kind and Just Community
  • Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Socioeconomic Diversity
  • Shaping and Sustaining Safe Schools for LGBTQ+ Members

Sample Conference Schedule:

Intra-School Conference: A Unique Opportunity for Individual Schools

The Intra-School Conference is an institutional capacity-building opportunity for individual schools that want to deepen their knowledge, enhance practices, and improve skills in the areas of diversity, equity, and belonging (DEIB). Constituent groups included in this model are alumni, alumni parents, faculty/admin/staff, students, and parents. This model brings a school together around a common DEIB topic while providing a platform for sharing personal experiences, expressing opinions and perspectives, and generating ideas and solutions for growth. Hosting an Intra-School Conference is an opportunity for your school to engage in a “deep dive” in a structured, safe, and inspiring setting.

The host school works with Pollyanna to identify an appropriate thematic topic, such as:

  • Belonging at Name of School
  • Planning for the Future
  • Re-examining Our Mission

Sample Conference Schedule:

School Leadership Conference: Aligning DEIB Values and Decision-Making

The School Leadership Conference brings together leaders from across school communities in a geographic region around a common DEIB topic for TWO half-day workshops that take place in the spring and fall of a school year. The purpose of this conference is to create stronger, more inclusive school communities through new or existing initiatives. Participants include, but are not limited to: the Head of School, DEIB Director, Board Chair,  Parents’ Association President, Faculty Association President, and Student Government President. 

The first half-day session will focus on evaluating the strengths and effectiveness of current mission-driven DEIB work across school communities. Through facilitated conversation across constituencies, each school group of decision-makers will have actionable items to bring back to their school.

The second half-day session will offer participating schools an opportunity to reflect upon progress made since the first session. Discussions will focus on what made an initiative successful or challenging, and offer each school an opportunity to generate new actionable steps based on the feedback they receive during the session. 

Hosting a School Leadership Conference is an opportunity to create positive progress and connection between schools with regard to DEIB goals.  

Sample Conference Schedule: 

Click here to view a highlight video of the Multi-School Dalton Conference in New York on Generational Trauma.

Click here to view a highlight video about the Intra-Conference at the Brentwood School in Los Angeles in May 2022.

Contact us to learn more about our School Conferences.