Who We Are
The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative (GPDC) was established in early 2012 as a group of small PreK-8th grade schools who work to support each other in their school communities.
Our member schools are committed to addressing issues of diversity, equity, and social justice through curriculum, professional development, and school-wide events. Our small schools of young students face unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to creating developmentally appropriate diversity-related learning experiences for them, fostering dialogue among parents and staff about diversity, equity, and social justice topics, and promoting anti-racist ideology.
Since our formation, along with meaningful discussions and readings, we have sponsored community events for our member schools, such as engaging professional speakers for a Racial Identity Forum for teachers and parents; organizing a music concert for students and families; developed three Elementary Student Diversity Day events for young learners, grades 3-6, which we plan to be a biennial event; and founded and coordinated the Preschool-to Second-Grade Educators Diversity Summit for teachers and administrators.
The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative promotes healthy, socially conscious, and culturally responsive preschool through 8th-grade communities.
The Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative promotes healthy, socially conscious, and culturally responsive preschool through 8th-grade communities by keeping initiatives of difference, social justice, and equity in the forefront of our respective schools’ view. We take an active role in providing GPDC educators & students with tools to address issues of social justice, equity and anti-racist concepts in our member schools.
Three days of inspiring workshops at the “People of Color Conference”.
After three days of inspiring workshops at the NAIS People of Color Conference in December 2011, The Miquon School staff in attendance, along with a few colleagues from other small schools, found themselves sitting at a round table, reflecting about what they had learned and what they hoped to take back to their classrooms. As independent elementary and middle schools, there was little programming at the conference specifically geared toward us and our students. The conference, so full of interesting and provocative ideas, skewed toward the developmental level of older students. Wouldn’t it be useful, we all wondered, to have a forum for educators of younger students to share ideas and receive support for working through issues of diversity with our faculty, parents and young students? A forum to tackle the unique challenges and opportunities presented in creating developmentally appropriate diversity-related learning experiences? A forum where we as staff and faculty could support each other across schools?
The Miquon School’s Diversity Committee co-chairs Jeri Bond Whatley and Kate Fox decided to make the creation of that forum a priority and invited teachers and administrators from independent elementary and middle schools within the Philadelphia region to Miquon for an evening to share perspectives, stories, and knowledge about all things diversity related.
At that first meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Diversity Collaborative on February 29, 2012, approximately 30 people attended. Several members of the Miquon staff were joined by colleagues from Plymouth Meeting Friends School, Frankford Friends School, United Friends School, Gladwyne Montessori School, Community Partnership School, The School in Rose Valley, and others.
Many topics and concerns were raised during the first meeting of the Collaborative and these would serve as focal points for future gatherings. We talked about the value of professional development for staff, a school-wide commitment to the work, and ideas about cultural competency. We recommended both children’s and professional literature, shared anecdotal teaching experiences. And we considered a few questions about our practice, such as:
- How can we create multi-school sponsored events for children, parent and family education, and professional development for faculty & staff?
- How best do we address these complex issues of difference with our sensitive and impressionable young students?
The United Friends School in Quakertown hosted the second meeting of the Collaborative in April 2012 to continue the discussion, and we have been rotating meetings among our member schools ever since.
From the early beginnings at POCC, the Collaborative grew to include 14 member schools and over the course of the next eight years, hosted many events for both children and adults that allowed the time and resources to dive deep into issues of difference. We continue to seek out new avenues for education, support our member schools, grow as an organization, and regularly reflect on our practice.