By Paran Quigley, Diversity Coordinator
“Inly should host something like this.” It was a simple enough statement, uttered by an Inly student at last fall’s AISNE Middle School Diversity Conference. The idea clearly resonated with the other Inly attendees, who quickly bounced around some thoughts about what that might look like and happily brought the fledgling plan back to campus with them. A year later, what started off as a wild idea has gathered steam, and here we are, gearing up to host the first ever Montessori Conference on Diversity and Equity (MCODE).
On Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm, Montessori students, teachers, and parents will gather on Inly’s campus to “explore identity through diversity.” All attendees, plus our Inly 6th grade conference volunteers, will enjoy an opening keynote by Mike Benning and a closing interactive African Dance session with Shaumba Dibinga all together. For the bulk of the day, the 7th and 8th grade students and their teachers have several workshop sessions to choose from, while the attending parents have specially designed conference tracks to engage in.
Student workshops including a live-action “game of life,” an in-depth exploration of stereotypes in the media, and world cooking projects, to name a few. Parent tracks will focus on the questions of who we are and who our children are in the increasingly multicultural world in which we live. All attendees will leave with new skills, a broader perspective, and clear next steps for our journeys toward becoming better global citizens.
The Inly students who have attended the AISNE middle school diversity conferences over the past several years have learned a lot—how to salsa dance, exactly what percentage of human DNA is identical from one person to the next, and the power of sharing your own personal story through written free verse and spoken word performances alike, to name a few highlights.
“Montessori students know how to deeply engage in a discussion, take intellectual risks, and explore topics in a way that that is truly unique,” observes Donna Milani Luther, Inly Head of School, “So the plan to get as many Montessori middle school students as we can in one space to delve into identity and diversity was a magnetic idea that attracted a lot of enthusiasm.”
“I love new ideas and I love when our students and teachers innovate and raise the bar,” said Donna. “MCODE is an exciting example of this.”
We hope you can join us on October 25th.