This year’s Professional Development Day was a blast and started with some great energy! In the morning, groups teamed up in the gym to compete by performing “mind and motion” challenges. This helped wake up and energize the participants.
Afterwards everyone gathered in the Performance Hall to participate in the first session of the day. Dr. Slejko opened the session by giving data regarding our student population. The data represented the progression of academic performance of NLC’s students from 2015 to 2019, which was divided by race and gender. While the performance of each group increased over that time span, it was evident that the gaps between each group’s performance remained about the same ratio. Dr. Slejko mentioned although many changes were made to be more equitable to students, there were still some inequities that NLC is striving to make better. This data tied in perfectly to what our speaker, Dr. Tia McNair, had to say.
After being introduced by Dr. Floyd, Dr. McNair began to talk about inequities on college campuses, particularly focusing on race. Dr. McNair had several main points that all connected to how to best create an equitable environment and education for all students regardless of the many differences they have.The main point, perhaps, was that there can be no quality without first addressing equity. She mentioned the importance of having conversations that people may be uncomfortable with, such as racial equity, white privilege, etc. These are things that are highly important to create an equitable education and experience for students.
Dr. McNair gave an incredible session with lots of audience interaction, so much so that it felt like a personal conversation with her. She ended by asking the attendees if they talk equity or walk equity. She highly encouraged everyone to ponder this question and think about what they can do to get to the point of walking equity.
After Dr. McNair’s session, attendees were treated with lunch as always. People enjoyed having conversations about the session, the rest of their day, and everything in between with one another. Following lunch, attendees had the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions. With 12 sessions to choose from, people had to make some tough decisions to choose which to attend! Overall, this year’s Professional Development Day was a major success. Wildfire is dedicated to continuing to apply the talking points of Dr. Tia McNair! We strive for more equitable solutions. Thank you to everyone who attended, participated, and put in hard work to make this day possible!