Administrators, faculty and staff gathered at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School for Superintendent’s Day Ed Camp on Feb. 16.
After enjoying a light breakfast, those in attendance heard from keynote speaker Dr. Nancy Kaplan, associate provost for academic support services and external academic partnerships from St. John’s University. Dr. Kaplan discussed implicit bias and how it contributes to social inequities in the criminal justice system, healthcare, employment, and within schools in terms of discipline, opportunity, expectation, recognition and ultimately achievement. She also called on the educators to reflect on where they were in terms of managing their own biases.
“Are you neutral, meaning you treat all people the same? Are you cognizant, meaning you sometimes treat individuals differently based on their difference and what he or she needs? Are you reflective, meaning that you know unconscious bias can impact decisions you make and you try to consider each action with that in mind? Or are you proactive, meaning you know that unconscious bias can impact decisions you make so you actively and continuously challenge yourself and improve your skills around these issues?” Dr. Kaplan asked.
“I hope you become proactive, I pray that you become proactive, and if you are one of the few that is already proactive, I hope and I pray that you become more proactive,” Dr. Kaplan continued. “When you are proactive and your colleagues are proactive, you have a school building populated with professionals who are dedicated to providing opportunities for children. But more than providing opportunity, you have a school building that is filled with people who have the highest of expectations for each and every child, even if they don’t have them for themselves, even if those families don’t know what the expectations should be.”
After the keynote address, district educators attended various sessions, including Fostering Inclusion: Understanding My Role, led by Dr. Kaplan. Other sessions held throughout the day focused on technology, special education, communication, math learning standards and more.