Crossroads News

Middle School Educators Present at PEN Conference

Nancy Seid and David Stewart share accreditation, inclusion strategies.
Earlier this month, two Middle School educators presented at the Progressive Education Network (PEN) Conference in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Nancy Seid is the Middle School Core coordinator and teacher and David Stewart is the Assistant Head of Middle School and Eighth Grade Dean. Three other Crossroads teachers attended the conference: Upper School history teacher Piya Narayen, Middle School Core teacher Julian Laurent and Founding Director of the Equity & Justice Institute Derric J. Johnson.
Nancy and David’s presentation concerned Crossroads’ recent accreditation process, which was unique in its inclusion of diverse voices from all across the Crossroads community. Below, Nancy reflects on the experience, the role of inclusivity at the School and how Crossroads lives the values of progressive education:
“Crossroads has been active in the Progressive Education Network for many years. In fact, we were one of the schools that helped plan the conference when it was here in Los Angeles several years ago! At that time, we closed school for a day so everyone could listen to the keynote and attend teacher workshops.
“Our presentation was entitled, ‘A Progressive Approach to Accreditation.’ Every private school needs to go through accreditation every seven years or so. In our most recent accreditation, we took an approach that was much more open and inclusive than ever before. All adults at Crossroads participated, including staff. Bus drivers and Facilities staff sat on committees with teachers and administrators from all three divisions, allowing us to take an in-depth look at how our school works, from multiple perspectives. It was eye-opening and led us to many of the goals that we are now working on in our strategic plan.
“Inclusivity is a key priority at Crossroads. David Stewart and Piya Narayen co-chair the School’s RISE Committee, a group composed of students, faculty, staff, administrators and parents that is working hard to make sure that issues of inclusion come to the forefront of our School to create an environment in which everyone’s voice is heard and listened to. RISE was formed out of the School’s 2012 Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism Study (AIM), which led to development of many diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“Progressive education has the whole child at its center and allows for continuous change according to the needs of both our students and the world around them. If you take a look at our Statement of Philosophy, you’ll see everything that we value. The School was built upon five basic commitments: to academic excellence; to the arts; to the greater community; to the development of a student population of social, economic and racial diversity; and to the development of each student's physical well-being and full human potential. We live that commitment.”