Faculty and staff attend Public Purpose Conference

Darius McCullough, Staff Writer

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Faculty and Staff will attend the 2019 National Private Schools with a Public Purpose (PSPP) Conference at the Spence School next weekend.

PSPP supports schools in the cooperation among a diverse group of schools, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and businesses, with the goal of building stronger communities, according to the PSSP website. The organization holds annual conferences in different states nationwide and will be held in New York this year.

The conference will be structured as a mix of small and large panel discussions, all with an opportunity for a robust Q&A, Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly said. This year’s theme is “Collaborating in the Spirit of Justice,” and the conference programming will explore the intersections of equity and service, CCVA Program Associate Natalie Sanchez said.

The school will look to learn from national examples of successful partnerships and how to build partnerships that promote equity for all, Kelly said.

This is the first year that the school has attended the conference.

English teacher Chidi Asoluka and Director of the CCVA Jeremy Leeds will both be hosting workshops at the conference.

Asoluka will be presenting on The New Community Project, his senior English elective that focuses on social justice through the lens of literature, he said.

“I think it’s a meaningful and productive way to look at our local communities so I want to share it,” Asoluka said. He will be explaining how the functions of Love, Hate, Power, and Pride help us better understand the architecture of humanity, he said.

Leeds will be speaking with the executive director of Kingsbridge Heights Community Center about the collaboration between the center and the school and how the relationship fits into the school’s service learning program, Leeds said.

Kelly will be on the “Heads of Schools” panel to share the school’s mission statement, core values, and how public service has helped the school to fulfill its public purpose and reinforce its relationship with the Bronx community, Kelly said.

“It’s always humbling to talk about the role “service beyond oneself” plays at HM, and it’s a privilege to share just how our engagement grows each year,” Kelly said. “I’m always interested in hearing about new approaches to responding to a school’s need or call for a public purpose.”

This is Sanchez’s first year working at the school, but she was asked to be a part of the Vision Committee last year, she said. This year, she worked with the committee to develop the theme and structure for this year’s conference.

“I just joined the CCVA this year and in my role, I am always thinking about our relationship with our local communities,” Sanchez said.

Service Learning committee advisor Kimberly Joyce-¬Bernard will also attend the conference.

“I am constantly considering ways in which we can cultivate what we are learning in regards to student and community partner efforts to address public purpose,” Joyce-¬Bernard said.

Teachers will look forward to the refreshing experience of coming home from a conference of this nature having learned something new, Kelly said. The conference will serve to allow faculty to remove themselves from their everyday environment and reflect on the “bigger picture,” he said.