Letter from Ann-Marie

Dear Putney Families,


This Wednesday, Sept 20, we held our first All-School DEIJB event of the year! Our themes this year are belonging and interdependence. We focused our discussions around understanding bias from the point of view of our brains and the point of view of our society.

The day began with an All-School presentation which included “quiz show like” questions that engaged students and adults. The presentation gave us “food for thought” and we processed what we heard in smaller identity groups. Ahead of time, students had the opportunity to choose which group they wanted to be in. The group they chose will be their discussion/debriefing group for all of our All-School DEIJB events this year.

We encouraged students to talk about these ideas with all the adults in their lives. If you’d like a “heads up” about some of the ideas, please take a look at the home page of the traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition The Bias Inside Us. We used resources from this interactive website in our presentations. Interesting ideas we presented included a photographic project from Angelica Dass titled Humane. In her work, she directly addresses the colors we assign to race by matching portraits with their Pantone color number designations. We asked students and adults to reflect on how conversations and understandings of people might change if each of us had a Pantone color number that might change if we get a sun tan or a sun burn or have dry skin or have moisturized skin.

We discussed microaggressions, heuristics, the genesis of bias, belonging, interdependence, and many other topics.

We ended the day with a poem written by James Berry titled What Do We Do With A Variation? We specifically asked students to talk with the adults in their lives about this poem. I’m offering it to you so that you can read it ahead of time.



Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, & Belonging


What Do We So With a Variation?

By James Berry

What do we do with a difference?

Do we stand and discuss its oddity

or do we ignore it?

Do we shut our eyes to it

or poke it with a stick?

Do we clobber it to death?

Do we move around it in rage

and enlist the rage of others?

Do we will it to go away?

Do we look at it in awe

or purely in wonderment?

Do we work for it to disappear?

Do we pass it stealthily

or change route away from it?

Do we will it to become like ourselves?

What do we do with a difference?

Do we communicate to it,

let application acknowledge it

for barriers to fall down?

Inquire Now