Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES is set to host a virtual conference that will take a look at creating more inclusive classrooms and workplaces.
The online conference, titled “We Are Here… Moving Forward with Inclusivity and Belonging,” will start at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, and it’s scheduled to wrap up at 3 p.m. Those who register will be sent links to each presentation.
Conference sessions will deal with a variety of topics within the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion, including indigenous representation in literature, being an ally, and strategies for talking about diversity. Attendees will learn how to honor diverse learning needs, create safe and inclusive classroom environments, and encourage students to have challenging conversations.
The conference will feature presentations from a number of well-respected voices in the world of diversity studies, starting with Clint Smith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller “How the Word Is Passed.” Other presenters include Matt Kay, author of “Not Light, But Fire”; Debby Irving, author of “Waking Up White”; Todd Mealy, Equity Institute for Race Consciousness; and Sheldon Eakins, Leading Equity Center.
“I really want to give teachers and leaders a variety of tools to make sure that everyone – students, employees, volunteers – feel included and like they belong,” said FEH BOCES Director of Instructional Support Shannon Pitcher-Boyea, who is heading up planning the conference.
“There are all sorts of reasons people can feel excluded – gender, money, race, how we learn, and so many more. It’s important to embrace all forms of diversity and to welcome and celebrate our differences. The more diverse we are, the more we all win.”
The conference will focus on educational topics, but it’s open to organizations and others that are looking to emphasize inclusiveness.