I have been in conversation with many colleagues about how to address one of the core diversity questions for our schools: how do independent schools attract and retain faculty of color? I believe that many PNW schools are making strong efforts in bringing greater diversity to our student populations and to our faculty. The recent article in the Seattle Times is a timely reminder that these recruitment efforts are directly connected to student achievement – for all students, I believe.
I have been in touch with the organizers of EdCamp-Seattle, self desribed as "a free professional development un-conference for teachers by teachers." I will be joining this space hoping to interface with people of color who are in Seattle during NAIS. It is a recruitment of sorts – but with a lighter touch – the focus being on starting and developing on-going conversation so that Seattle area schools like Seattle Girls' School can diversify their applicant pools through direct contact with potential teachers and staff. At December's NAIS People of Color Conference, I was struck by this notion at a wonderful presentation by Lakeside School. It was clear to me that as a Head of School, I could not wait until a particular position opens up to engage in outreach efforts; but rather that these should be ongoing relationships that convey the genuine commitment a school has made.
Here are some links that will provide more information regarding EdCamp-Seattle. In a nutshell, it is an "open space un-conference" that will be hosted by The Northwest School.
I hope that you will join me at this event so that we can use it as a focal point for conveying the commitment and work of Seattle area schools toward greater diversity and equity. There are no guarantees here in terms of attendance or outcomes. I will join the early-birds in order to claim a "Conversation Space," and I will be there from 9:35 - 11:40am. Join me!
Rafael del Castillo
Head of School
Seattle Girls' School