Pollyanna Conference

October 17, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Harvard-Westlake School is excited to host its fourth annual Pollyanna Conference!  The theme of this year’s conference is “Courageous Conversations: Learning to Connect Authentically and with Compassion.”  So often when we attempt to have meaningful conversations with others on challenging topics, we end up talking past one another.  The day will give us space to learn specific strategies for engaging in courageous conversations on numerous topics that easily divide our communities from race to gender to sexual orientation to religion to politics to you name it.  Specifically, with 2020 being a presidential election year, all of our communities will need strategies for navigating these waters in a way that unifies rather than divides.  We hope you will join us, albeit virtually, as a participant. As always, the day promises to be exciting and informative even in this new but temporary virtual format. 

The mission of Pollyanna is to create a platform "where groups of people can explore together diversity, inclusion, and equity and share ideas, experiences and knowledge in order to become change agents in their immediate communities. The conference model is a dynamic, focused and interactive program that provides guidance and training for community leaders. The goal is to improve inclusion within communities and the understanding that racial, socioeconomic, religious and sexual diversity enhances all elements of the community."    

Pollyanna is structured a bit differently than other conferences. Each school will be represented as a School POD – with approximately 15 individuals who play a role in advancing the diversity discussion at your school. We ask that you send two members from each of the following constituent groups, if possible: head of school, administrators, alumni, diversity coordinators, faculty, parents, students (8th through 12th grade), and trustees. We will ask for a list of your POD members in early September 2020.


The morning will begin with brief opening remarks and a special keynote speaker. The balance of the morning will be dedicated to workshops broken down by constituent groups, each individually facilitated. After a break for lunch, there will be a dynamic student presentation. Each school will then reunite with its members for afternoon workshops, which will focus on discussions of next steps for each school. The day will end with a closing share-out session.


Virtual via Zoom (link to be sent to registered participants before conference day)


We can accommodate the first 15 schools that register. The cost for each School POD to attend is $1,000 before June 30, 2020 and $1,300 after July 1, 2020. Please be in touch if the cost is prohibitive for your school. Once you have completed the short registration form and entered your credit card payment, we will be in touch with you regarding next steps.

For additional information, please email jjones@hw.com.