On November 26, for Professional Development Day, Allen-Stevenson faculty and staff participated in conversations & workshops at a Cultural Competence Conference, organized by the School’s own Community Life + Diversity team. The team consisted of Science Teacher Jennifer Vermont-Davis, Admissions Associate Devin LaSane, Fourth Grade Teacher Lorenzo Bellard and Upper School Librarian Liz Storch, all of whom are also Co-Directors of Community Life + Diversity.
“Learning cultural competence isn’t just for people of color,” said Lorenzo Bellard. “It’s something we can all strive to do better, and in doing so, helps to make a better learning environment for students and ourselves.”
The Cultural Competence Conference consisted of an opening session, with contributing remarks from Headmaster David Trower, and two seventy-five minute workshops and information sessions. Faculty and staff were able to select from a wide range of topics from “A First Look at Understanding Gender, Gender Identity, and the Gender Spectrum at A-S” to “Using Wonderful Books Related to Diversity in Your Classroom.”
“The biggest take away from this day, was how driven everyone was to better themselves for our community,” said Jennifer Vermont-Davis. “We all have one goal here at Allen-Stevenson, to make boys the best versions of themselves, and that work starts internally. What are we, consciously and subconsciously, presenting to the boys with our actions and words? How are our own biases working against the messages we want to instill in our students? As educators and adults, it’s important we recognize this, but also recognize we are still learning—and can learn from each other every day.”
At the end of the day, divisions were given an hour to talk about what they learned, unpack the day and engage in meaningful conversation with each other about what they learned and how to apply today’s lessons in their classrooms. They also talked about the faculty and staff cultural competency goals they established for the year. This helped end the day how it began, as a community, coming together with one goal in mind: making the world a better place, one boy at a time.