Middle School Spanish teacher Kerry Kettering-Goens, along with Gabmara Alvarez-Spychalski, who teaches Spanish at The Baldwin School, presented at the 31st annual National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) in November.
Each year, more than 5,000 educators and students attend PoCC and the related Student Diversity Leadership Conference, which is designed for Upper School students around the country. The PoCC theme this year was “Equitable Schools and Inclusive Communities: Harmony, Discord, and the Notes in Between.”
Kettering-Goens and Alvarez-Spychalski led a one-hour workshop titled “Colorism in the Latinx Community.” Their proposal was selected from more than 400 submissions.
Students and educators have a responsibility to be informed about cultures and traditions that are different from their own so they can help make other people feel truly a part of their school communities. Kerry Kettering-Goens, Middle School teacher and PoCC presenter
According to Kettering-Goens, colorism is prejudice against individuals with darker skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. The workshop was designed to help participants “look at case studies and walk away with strategies for addressing colorism when they witness it, in order to create a more equitable and inclusive environment,” she said.
“We wanted to share our personal experiences to help people better understand this cultural practice,” said Kettering-Goens. “Students and educators have a responsibility to be informed about cultures and traditions that are different from their own so they can help make other people feel truly a part of their school communities.”
According to the NAIS website, PoCC “equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge, skills, and experiences to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools.”
Haverford has sent a group of faculty and students to the conferences every year for the past decade, led by Director of Community Donta Evans or Director of Diversity and Inclusion Brendon Jobs. This year, nine faculty members attended, along with six students.