2018 Widening the Lens: The Far Brook School Diversity Conference
WELCOME! We are excited to announce that Far Brook's third annual diversity conference for New Jersey independent schools will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018. The title and focus of this year's conference is From Attending to Belonging: Re-Imagining Independent Schools for our Intersectional Communities.
Each of our schools has made a significant effort to recruit and enroll students from a range of racial, religious, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds and our communities now proudly reflect those efforts. We have made progress in numbers, but what have we done, and what are we yet called to do to ensure that all of our community members feel a true sense of belonging?
At the 2018 Widening the Lens Conference we will consider the extent to which we have adapted policies, programs, and curricula to create environments that feel like "home" for our constituents who represent various intersectional identities. What are we currently doing? What can we do better? Let's share our challenges and our triumphs and work together to imagine and build more inclusive communities.
The unique structure of this conference invites attending schools to assemble a "pod" of individuals, each of whom can play a role in advancing the diversity discussion at their school. Pods consist of two participants from each of seven constituencies: students, parents, teachers, administrators, diversity coordinators, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees. Powerful learning and growth happen when we bring together this cross-section of voices and perspectives that exist within our own schools and share our challenges, experiences, and best practices with colleagues from peer schools.
We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker this year will be Richard Blanco: educator, storyteller, diversity advocate, and inaugural poet for President Barack Obama. Blanco is a sought-after speaker who captivates audiences around the nation and the world with his dynamic storytelling, his powerful readings, and his advocacy for diversity, LGBTQ rights, immigration, arts education, and cultural exchange. As stated so compellingly on his website: “Whether speaking as the Cuban Blanco or the American Richard, the homebody or the world traveler, the shy boy or the openly gay man, the civil engineer or the civic-minded poet, Blanco’s writings possess a story-rich quality that illuminates the human spirit. His work asks those universal questions we all ask ourselves on our own journeys: Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I in this world?” Blanco’s work, with his focus on negotiation of cultural identity and universal themes of place and belonging, fits in perfectly with our conference theme.