Lawrence Township Public Schools superintendent Crystal Edwards gave a presentation to other school superintendents from across the United States and Canada at the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) Seminar in Texas earlier this summer.
Edwards presented “Confronting the Unspeakables in Our Schools” in July, which addressed the ways that racism, indifference, stereotyping, LGBTQ-phobia and poverty are just a few of the “unspeakables” that seep into classrooms, schools, district and communities.
Edwards outlined a best practice used collectively by Mercer County superintendents to pave the way for conversations about race, class and gender in their schools. Seminar attendees learned steps they can use to confront the “unspeakables” in their school communities.
The Lawrence superintendent also discussed Day of Dialogue, a conference that brings students together for an educational experience promoting conversation, awareness and action around diversity.
The first Day of Dialogue was in February 2016 and two additional two-day sessions continued in the 2016-2017 school year. The most recent session brought together 11 students and five staff members from each Mercer County high school, Montgomery High School and Allentown High School at Rider University to continue sometimes difficult conversations about “unspeakables.”
“Speaking before a group of superintendents, Crystal Edwards opened the minds of many by challenging her peers to work directly with students to develop inclusive environments in their school communities,” Rich Bagin, NSPRA’s executive director, said. “They appreciated her direct style and concrete examples which they can use to become a catalyst in their own school districts.”