John Burroughs School - The Equity Exchange

With a $50,000 matching grant from EE Ford, John Burroughs School launched The Equity Exchange in July 2015.

In partnership with the St. Louis Public Schools and in collaboration with NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), Burroughs hosted the five-day summer institute to provide advanced training for diversity practitioners, experienced teachers and administrators from independent, private and public schools and to serve as a forum in which educational leaders could share strategic and systemic solutions.

The inaugural program provided a purposeful mix of presentations, group discussions and café sessions during which participants

  • explored core topics, including cultural, global, intercultural competency; school climate; and discipline in public and private schools
  • acquired practical tools, including the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI®); advanced facilitation and coaching skills; and Equity Exchange plans.

Two “outside” panels varied the format, enriched the content and expanded the perspectives of The Exchange.

  • An educators panel included the late Dr. John Chubb, president, NAIS; Maureen Dowling¸ director, Office of Non-Public Education, Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement;
    Dr. Kelvin Adams, superintendent, St. Louis Public Schools; Andy Abbott, head, John Burroughs School; and Brittany Packnett, executive director, Teach for America St. Louis.
  • A business panel, moderated by Valerie Bell, board chair, St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, included; Kelvin Westbrook, board chair, BJC Healthcare; Joe Reagan, president and CEO, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie Hosler, partner, Bryan Cave; and Sharon Harvey Davis, chief diversity officer, Ameren Missouri.

The Equity Exchange experience was remarkable. Relationships were created and bonds solidified. The inaugural cohort continues to engage with one another on a variety of topics. They look to each other for advice, counsel and best practices.

And the planning for the second annual Exchange is well underway.


2015 participants included teachers, administrators and diversity practitioners from:

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (Indianapolis, IN)
Buckingham Browne and Nichols School (Cambridge, MA)

Center for the Future of Education & Democracy (Los Angeles, CA)

Convent of the Sacred Heart (New York, NY)
Hawken School (Cleveland, OH)
Jennings School District (St. Louis, MO)

John Burroughs School (St. Louis, MO)
Kingswood Oxford School (Hartford, CT)
Lancaster Country Day School (Lancaster, PA)

Laurel School (University Heights, OH)
National Association of Independent Schools (Washington, D.C.)
St. Louis Public Schools (St. Louis, MO)

Seattle Girls’ School (Seattle, WA)

The Blake School (Minneapolis, MN)

The Philadelphia School (Philadelphia, PA)

Westtown School (West Chester, PA)
Whitfield School (St. Louis, MO)
William Penn Charter School (Philadelphia, PA)