In preparation for the new school year on the horizon, 13 members of the Nichols School faculty, staff and Board of Trustees spent three days focusing on ways to build a more inclusive community. The Nichols cohort attended the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summer Institute alongside attendees from other member schools of the Education Collaborative of Western New York from August 13-15.
Ramone Alexander, Director of Inclusivity and Community Building at Nichols School, led a group including Paul Errickson, head of Nichols Middle School, Aranya Maritime, head of Nichols Upper School, faculty members Katherine Austen, Caitlin Crowell, Lolly Errickson, Deborah Howe, Claudia O'Keefe, Laurie Ousley, Carol-Sue Stapleton and Yajie Zhang, Director of Alumni Engagement Caitlin Domagal, and Trustee Bridget Lett P'17.
The Summer Institute's opening day began with a welcome from Eric Yarwood, Executive Director of the Education Collaborative, who discussed the group's commitment to diversity and inclusion and new initiatives for the future. The first day also included discussions from Elizabeth Denevi, the Associate Director of Eastern Educational Resource Collaborative (East Ed), and Dr. Jevon Hunter, the Woods-Beal Endowed Chair for Elementary Education, Literacy and Educational Leadership at Buffalo State College.
The second day of programming focused on navigating diversity in gender and sexuality with discussion led by Dr. Jennifer Bryan of Team Finch Consulting, before breaking into cohort groups to discuss the implications for developing inclusive classrooms and leadership. On the third day, attendees were guided through racial literacy in schools by Dr. Howard Stevenson, a professor of urban education and Africana studies at the University at Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and closed with strategic planning and setting a path for accountability as the attendees look to implement new practices.
On the group's commitment to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summer Institute, Alexander writes: "I am extremely proud of our presence at the summer institute and of my colleagues who took the time out of their summer schedules to learn more about inclusive excellence and what it means to be a diversity responsive school. Kudos to all!"