Brooklyn Friends School to offer new ‘Justice and Transformational Change’ development programs for educators

Brooklyn Friends School
This summer, the Brooklyn Friends School will offer new professional development programs for educators from all over the city.
File photo by Kevin Duggan

The Brooklyn Friends School (BFS) is opening its doors this summer to educators across New York City to help them better serve their students.

Brooklyn Friends, a Preschool-12 independent Quaker school located in Downtown Brooklyn, announced that it will offer professional development institutes for educators from all over the city to grow in their careers.

The Institutes for Justice and Transformational Change, as they are called, will include the three sessions: “Power, Practice, Privilege: Whiteness and the Path to Social Justice,” “LGBTQAI+ Aspiring Leadership Institute” and “Restorative Justice: Strengthening Relationships.”

According to Jay Rapp, BFS’ Associate Director of Alumni Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, few schools in New York City offer these types of programs for educators. It’s the main reason why the summer sessions are open to all educators, regardless of whether they work for the public or private sectors.

“We’re really trying to cast a very inclusive and broad net,” Rapp told Brooklyn Paper. “[Inclusivity] is sort of steeped in Brooklyn Friends’ history … We’re hoping that by creating this programming that we are giving back to the community or providing resources to the community that are ultimately going to help it.”

Each individual program is specifically tailored to inform and instruct attendees how to adjust their thinking and/or their educating style based on how they identify as well as give resources and aid to those who need it. 

In “Power Practice Privilege: Whiteness and the Path to Social Justice,” which will run from June 21-23, instructors and educators are encouraged to gather together and examine BFS inclusive curriculum. This institute is specifically designed for faculty, staff and newly appointed administrators who identify as white, and aims to help these educators examine topics such as privilege and racial dynamics.

For the “LGBTQAI+ Aspiring Leadership Institute” between June 28-30, enrollees will explore what it means to be a leader in the LGBTQIA+ community as well as how to manage conflict and communication skills.

Finally, in “Restorative Justice: Strengthening Relationships” between Aug. 2-4, educators will learn how to employ effective and alternative forms of restorative justice practice in their classrooms or communities when dealing with conflict or instances where individuals may be exhibiting behavioral struggles. This program is especially for anyone working with youth-centered or human service education or in non-profit spaces.

Each of these programs, Rapp said, are important and beneficial to the community, but also come at an integral time in our country’s history, when many groups are at risk of having many of their rights taken away. 

“These issues are timely if you think about what we offer with the LGBTQAI+ institute,” Rapp said. “In showing our support of these types of issues we are making our voices heard and showing our support for how important some of these things are.”

Each program runs for three days at the Brooklyn Friends School and costs $1,400.

For more information on the individual programs visit their website, brooklynfriends.org.

Correction: A previous version of this story said that Brooklyn Friends served grades K-12. It actually educates children Preschool-12.