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Conferences and Workshops
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ISACS Diversity Summit: Gender & Gender Identity
Dena Samuels & Lise Eliot

Friday, March 6, 2015 9:00 am - Saturday, March 7, 2015 3:00 pm

Hotel Allegro
171 West Randolph
Chicago, IL

Registration for the Diversity Summit is now closed. If you have any questions, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190. 

Click here for the Diversity Summit Agenda

Date and Time
Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7

  • Friday March 6: Day One will take place from 9:00 a.m.– 4:30 p m.
  • Friday March 6:  Dinner and a Movie will take place from 6:00 p.m.– 9:00 p.m. (Optional - extra registration and fee required)
  • Saturday, March 7: Day Two will begin with continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and the presentation will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Who Should Attend
Faculty, Administrators, Heads of School, Trustees and Diversity Practitioners.

To maximize the impact of The Summit, we encourage attendance by teams of participants from the same school.

Featured Speakers

  • Dena Samuels
  • Lise Eliot

We invite all faculty, administrators and trustees to join us at the ISACS Diversity Summit on Friday, March 6- Saturday, March 7, 2015, as we welcome all who share a commitment to diversity, equity, and justice in our schools. The Summit will provide an opportunity to learn new strategies; understand current research while considering school culture, resources and challenges; and, possible steps for advancing our work in these areas. Participants will be provided time to hear from leading practitioners, learn about specific strategies, connect with other committed educators, celebrate successes, renew commitments, and return to school with informed plans for action. We hope you will join us to share the energy of these essential and energizing conversations.  We look forward to hearing a multitude of voices in this two-day conversation.

Friday, March 6 - Day one of the two-day Summit will feature Dr. Dena Samuels.  Dena will guide participants to look through the lens of gay/lesbian/trans students as she addresses the following:

  • Transforming Ourselves to Become Culturally Inclusive Educators
  • Implicit Bias, Stereotype Threat, Microaggressions, Identity-Blindness
  • Self-reflection and an opportunity to consider what we don't know we don't know
  • 8 personally transformative steps offered to help build cultural inclusiveness
  • Going Deeper: Reframing Emotions
  • Understanding emotions in interactions
  • Managing triggers
  • Transforming our Educational Spaces & Curriculum
  • Assessing physical building/classroom/school/campus for cultural inclusiveness
  • Culturally inclusive curricula & practices for the school (from diversity day to diversity year)

Dena R. Samuels, PhD teaches in women's and ethnic studies at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS), and has received the university's Outstanding Instructor Award. She is author of The Culturally Inclusive Educator: Preparing for a Multicultural World (Teachers College Press, 2014) and Teaching Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality (McGraw-Hill, 2009). As director of UCCS' Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, she provides trainings to educators on the processes of integrating diversity and building cultural inclusiveness. Some of her clients include: The Citadel Military Institute of South Carolina, the US Air Force Academy, and the University of Denver. She holds a PhD from UCCS, an MA from UCCS, and a BA from Brandeis University.

In addition, on Friday afternoon, we will welcome a panel of parents and alums from independent schools to speak about their personal experience in ISACS schools. The panel will speak about their experiences with microaggressions and will share stories of allies and support.

Saturday, March 7 - Day two of the Summit will feature Dr. Lise Eliot who will continue the gender-based conversation with a focus on the research that led to her best-selling book: Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- And What We Can Do About It.

In the past decade, we've come to accept certain ideas about the differences between males and females—that boys can't focus in a classroom, for instance, and that girls are obsessed with relationships. Calling on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time, as parents and teachers—and the culture at large—unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. Children themselves intensify the differences by playing to their modest strengths. They constantly exercise those “ball-throwing” or “doll-cuddling” circuits, rarely straying from their comfort zones. But this is just what they need to do, and she offers concrete ways to help. Boys are not, in fact, “better at math” but at certain kinds of spatial reasoning. Girls are not naturally more empathetic; they’re allowed to express their feelings. By appreciating how sex differences emerge—rather than assuming them to be fixed biological facts—we can learn to help all children reach their fullest potential, close the troubling gaps between boys and girls, and ultimately end the gender wars that currently divide us.

Concepts to be discussed include the following:

  • Behavioral sex differences are real but small, with lots of overlap between boys and girls
  • Brain sex differences are real but small, with lots of overlap
  • The extreme plasticity of young children's brains (witness effects of early language exposure) is a key factor in gender development
  • Most skills that show a sex difference have been shown to be influenced by environment/experience (e.g., math, verbal, competitiveness, aggression)
  • Implicit bias harms both girls and boys (but especially girls in STEM
  • Stereotype threat (and its effect on the brain
  • Boys and girls have a lot to learn from each other
  • Most schools are only nominally coed--much more opportunity for boys and girls to befriend and respect each other
  • Girls have more leeway than boys; "masculinity" sets boundaries that are the main culprit for boys' poorer performance in school
  • Still, there are aspects of self-regulation that could be better promoted in classrooms, which will help all children, but boys especially

Lise Eliot is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at The Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science. A Chicago native, she received an A.B. degree from Harvard University, a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and did post-doctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Eliot lectures widely on children’s brain and gender development. She lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois with her husband and three children.

Friday evening activity March 6 - Dinner and a Movie - Pre-registration required 

Join other Diversity Summit colleagues for a Friday evening activity. Dinner and a Movie at the beautiful ISACS headquarters, 55 West Wacker, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

Those who would like to participate in the evening event may walk five minutes to the ISACS office and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city while enjoying dinner, conversation and a movie.The dinner and a movie will take place from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Dinner will start at 6:00 pm and the movie will start at approximately 6:45 pm. The group will gather at the Hotel Allegro at 5:45 pm and walk as a group to the ISACS classroom (approximately 5-10 minute walk.)

We invite you to join us for the HBO original movie Normal starring Jessica Lange, Tom Wilkinson, and Hayden Panettiere.

Movie Synopsis: Roy and Irma are a devoted couple living a normal life in rural Illinois when, at a party celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, Roy inexplicably blacks out. As he awakens, it is with the realization that his life must change forever. Roy confesses to Irma that he's a woman trapped in a man's body and that he wants a sex change. What comes as a surprise to his wife sends shock waves throughout their small churchgoing community. Roy must face their friends, his coworkers and his own children with the whole new way of life he has planned - and they must face him. What happens to a town, a factory and a loving marriage when confronted with such a transformation is all about being who you are, being in love, and simply being normal. The movie stars Jessica Lange, Tom Wilkinson & Hayden Panettiere and is directed by Jane Anderson.

A delicious dinner with a variety of hot entrées, dessert and beverages will be served.

Registration Fee

  • $30 is required per person for the evening event which includes dinner and a movie.
  • If you would like a guest to join you at the evening activity, please add them in during Step 2 of your online registration for the evening activity. The fee for your guest will also be $30.
  • Space is limited and this evening activity may reach capacity. Register today!

If you plan to attend the evening activity, please register by Friday, February 27.

The Diversity Summit will take place at the Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph Street. The Hotel Allegro is located in the heart of downtown Chicago in the busy theatre district in close proximity to the Art Institute and Navy Pier. It is also just minutes from Grant Park, Millennium Park, Lincoln Park and Chicago's beautiful lakefront that stretches for miles.

Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Allegro.

Hotel Reservations
ISACS has secured special discounted room rates at the Hotel Allegro for $149 plus tax/night (single or double occupancy) for the nights March 5- March 6.  To make a reservation call 1-800-KIMPTON and use Group Code: "ISACS Diversity Summit."  For online reservations, click on the following link - ISACS Diversity Summit Online Link. The discounted rate is available until Friday, February 13, 2015.  If you are having trouble booking a room, please call the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Hotel Allegro offers valet parking service. Valet parking is $29 for 4-6 hours and $59 for over 6 hours with in and out privileges (rates are subject to change).  

There are additional lots within a few blocks of the hotel that offer less expensive daily self-parking. For self-parking (not affiliated with the hotel) and no in and out privileges, you can park at Washington-Franklin Self Park located at 230 West Washington. The rates are approximately $42 overnight. This garage has a Saturday rate, which is up to 12 hours for $15. 

To secure discounted parking prior to your arrival, visit

Click here for directions and parking information for the Hotel Allegro.

Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
For shared-ride shuttle services to or from O’Hare or Midway, call 1-888-284-3826 or visit  The rate for O’Hare is approximately $27 one-way; $49 round-trip.  The rate for Midway is approximately $22 one-way; $39 round-trip. Parties of two or more reserving at the same time receive a discount.  Please visit the website for more information.

GO Airport Express
A special rate has been negotiated on your behalf for GO Airport Express. Reservations MUST be made online to receive the discounted rate.  Walk-ups will not be eligible for convention rate, standard rates will apply. Please click here to go to their website and begin your reservation to reserve a seat. It will provide a 15% discount. Credit cards are required and charged at the time of reservation. 

Registration Fee

  • $350 ISACS members
  • $400 non members
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $25 discount
  • Registration fee includes one continental breakfast on Saturday and two lunches
  • The Summit is designed as a two day program and ISACS encourages you to attend both days. If you are unable to attend both days and would like to attend Friday only or Saturday only, please call the ISACS office for registration information.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the Diversity Summit for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Questions? Please call 312-750-1190.


Member Cost: $350     Non-member Cost: $400
Registration Deadline:  February 27, 2015


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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