Mercersburg Represented at Annual Conferences

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Students and faculty waiting for a session at The People of Color Conference.
Pictured: Alex Cho ’23, Birdy McDonnell ’20, Isonah Dlodlo ’22, Carmen Martinez ’20,
Tanaka Mukudzavhu ’20, Matthew Tavarez ’21

A number of Mercersburg Academy faculty and students are on the road this week participating in two conferences. The People of Color Conference (PoCC) began Wednesday, December 4, in Seattle, Washington, and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) annual conference started Thursday, December 5, in Boston, Massachusetts. Both conferences are favorites at Mercersburg, and faculty, staff, and students attend each year. 

The annual TABS conference is exclusive to boarding schools and has been at the forefront of professional development for heads of school and faculty. Mercersburg faculty are leading three workshops at TABS this year.

Head of School Katie Titus will co-lead a session with Head of School Rachel Stone of Canterbury School in Connecticut, "Leadership Structure for the Modern (Future) World." In this session, both heads will discuss the concept of distributive leadership (a model both have begun to implement on their campuses) and why it’s important for a school’s survival.

Dean of Curricular Innovation John David Bennett will join history department head Jay Bozzi and arts faculty member Kristen Pixler in giving attendees a glimpse into Mercersburg’s capstone experiences in a session called "A Yearlong Capstone Experience for Every Senior." The team will inform other schools on how Mercersburg works with students to fully immerse themselves in a project and offer insights on the successes and missteps.

Dean of Academics Jennifer Smith ’97, Director of Learning Services Margaret Maciulla, and history faculty member Emily Parsons will present "A Research-Informed Approach to Homework Aimed at Reducing Student Stress." This is a hot topic among teachers, parents, and students; attendees will learn how a series of initiatives and policy changes have led to shorter, more meaningful assignments, and the positive effects for both students and teachers.

The annual People of Color Conference is presented through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).  Both are committed to providing a space for professional development and networking for people of color as well as all backgrounds in independent schools. PoCC’s goal is to improve and enhance the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in schools, as well as social-emotional outcomes for students.

Faculty members in attendance this year are Selas Douglas (history), Allison Stephens (history), Leela Woody (English), and Rudy Wise (admission). For more information on both conferences, please visit the TABS and PoCC. websites.