Educating our Educators
Laurence's administrators, faculty and staff regularly participate in on and off-campus professional development opportunities in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. These ongoing activities allow us to continue growing in all aspects of DEI, while we continually work to create a school where all feel heard and valued. Professional development in this area focuses on curriculum development, gaining comfort with discussing sensitive topics, identity, social justice, anti-bias, and more.
Off-campus professional development activities have included:
- National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference
- Harvard-Westlake's Pollyanna Conference (most recently covering issues related to gender identity)
- Southern California People of Color in Independent Schools events
- California Teacher Development Collaborative's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Independent Schools
On-campus professional development activities have included discussions with the following leaders in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
- Dr. Steven Jones, a national expert on leadership, diversity and inclusion, will be leading our Administrative Team, Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff in discussion and training focused on cultural responsiveness. He will also be leading discussions with K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-6th grade parents as part of our parent education program. Dr. Jones' other clients include the National Association of Independent Schools, Harvard University, Toyota and CBS Corporation, among others.
- Dr. Shamaine Bertrand, a renowned expert in multicultural education, recently worked with each grade level and specialists to integrate multicultural history through all subject areas as well as to provide training on the delivery of the curriculum.
- Janine Jones, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Harvard-Westlake and a thought leader in this field, will be regularly consulting with our Administrative Team and provides training for faculty and staff on implicit bias and anti-racism. She is currently leading our faculty book club discussions on the following books: So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo; How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi; White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo; and Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Alison Park, Founder of Blink Consulting, helps schools throughout the country critically rethink the purpose, practice and outcomes of their diversity initiatives by offering a fresh lens and practical tools. Topics for our work with Park have included: working together to create a common language around diversity; and exploring identity, particularly in the context of jokes.
- Dr. Claude Steele, Stanford University Professor of Psychology and author of Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do - After reading Dr. Steele's book as an all-community read (for administrators, faculty, staff and parents), Laurence invited him to campus for combined faculty and parent talks about implicit bias and stereotypes.
- LaNeesha Tabb, a nationally-renowned curriculum developer, who works with elementary school faculty on developing social studies units that are multi-cultural and focus on all aspects of diversity, including socioeconomic.
Teaching Tolerance Curriculum
Teaching Tolerance is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center that helps teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy. Teaching Tolerance provides resources for our administration and faculty to create a learning community where each child feels respected and valued. Members of our faculty also attend professional development through Teaching Tolerance's programs. Recent topics have included "Tools for Building Inclusive School Climate and Community" and "Anti-bias Curriculum."
Liz Kleinrock, a 2018 Teaching Tolerance Award winner, also came to Laurence recently for a day of professional development. She worked with faculty in small teams to help explore ways to integrate tenants of the Teaching Tolerance Curriculum into their classrooms in age and developmentally appropriate ways. Topics of discussion included:
- Identifying how individual bias impacts teaching and student learning; and
- Developing critical lenses and skills when teaching/interacting with underrepresented students and families.