Equity Statement of Commitment – #24United
The South Colonie Central School District stands together with the 24 school districts that comprise the Capital Region BOCES region in our shared responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students, particularly those who have been historically marginalized. It is our commitment that the diverse experiences and perspectives of our students, families and staff will be recognized, reflected and embraced in our educational institutions.
While our 24 school communities in the Capital Region each have a unique makeup, we all share one commonality: Our desire to provide an equitable educational experience that ensures opportunities and the necessary support for success for all students. It is our pledge to embrace the diverse experiences, values, beliefs, backgrounds and perspectives of our communities as we endeavor to prepare our students for the society they will encounter in life beyond our school systems.
About the district’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
South Colonie Central School District Diversity and Inclusion Committee, was developed in 2018 to address the needs of creating an inclusive workplace for South Colonie employees. In the 2020-21 school year, the committee changed its name to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee with an expanded focus on enhancing the overall school environment, addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity across the district.
As a school district, we believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive work and school environment provides an atmosphere that allows all individuals to attain their greatest potential and achieve the greatest benefits for students and families.
South Colonie is a community committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence. We firmly believe that we can best promote excellence by fostering opportunities for our diverse group of students, faculty and staff and by creating a climate of respect that is supportive of their success. Further, we recognize that the responsibility for excellence, diversity and inclusion lies with all of us at South Colonie: Board of Education, district leadership, administration, faculty, staff and students.
- Racquel Cunningham- South Colonie Parent (FP)
- Victoria Jackson- South Colonie Parent (SW/LK/CCHS)
- Sha-netta Willis- South Colonie Parent (LK)
- Laquita Love-Okopodu- South Colonie Parent (SR, CCHS)
- Christa Grant- South Colonie Parent (SC/SR)
- Amy Rudat – South Colonie Parent (children are alumni) and community member
- Keshana Owens-Cody – South Colonie Parent / PTSA Member (CCHS)
- David Perry, Superintendent of Schools (DO)
- Tim Backus, Asst. Supt. for Instruction (DO)
- Christopher Robilotti, Asst. Supt. for HR/Safe Schools (DO)
- William Boardman, Supervisor of Special Programs and South Colonie Parent (PPS/SR/SC/CCHS)
- Tom Kachadurian, HS Principal (CCHS)
- Marybeth Tedisco, Elementary Principal (RV)
- Melissa Judge – South Colonie Parent / Assistant Principal (CCHS)
- Stacey Wranesh – Elementary Principal (SW)
- James Haertel- HS Music Teacher (CCHS)
- April Mlambi- ENL Teacher and South Colonie Parent (SC/CCHS)
- Sekani Masambo- School Psychologist (SW)
- Zach Forbes- School Social Worker (CA)
- Jennifer Satin- HS Sped Teacher and South Colonie Parent (CCHS)
- Linda Kennedy- Secretary 1 (LK)
- Kim DonVito- Teaching Assistant and South Colonie Parent (LK)
- Shanell Brown- School Counselor (LK)
- Robert Stranahan – South Colonie Teacher (CCHS)
- Jessica Lafex – South Colonie Teacher (LK)
Board of Education Members
The committee meets quarterly to support efforts that enhance equitable access to resources and opportunities for all.
Equity Report Card
The most successful organizations and schools go beyond just hiring for diversity. They are committed to ensuring that everyone feels included and free to share their ideas.
South Colonie’s strategy to foster an inclusive workplace lends itself to improvement in the district’s four pillars: Academics, Wellness, Character and Community. By creating a space where everyone has a voice and encouraging new and exciting ideas, South Colonie can drive academic success and develop a sense of community in our classrooms. Research suggests that all students benefit from strong DEI practices.
In May 2021, the New York State Board of Regents adopted a policy to encourage and support efforts in New York’s schools with the expectation that all schools and institutions of higher education will adopt and implement meaningful DEI policies and practices. With a commitment to DEI in mind, South Colonie has continued to dedicate substantial time through the development of the first edition equity report card. With a goal to eliminate race, class, ability, and gender as predictors of academic performance and social-emotional well-being in the district, the equity report card provides descriptive data related to both demographics and student achievement in order to identify possible areas of disproportionality.
The document provides a foundation for the district to develop an action plan in order to reduce inequities related to learning opportunities while supporting academic achievement among all groups of students. View a copy of the South Colonie Equity Report Card here.
For anyone seeking to learn more about social justice initiatives, here are some recommended resources:
- See Our Truth. See Our Truth
- Gorski, Paul. Avoiding Racial Equity Detours. Students experiencing racism can’t wait for schools to move at their own pace and comfort level.
- Gorski, Paul and Katy Swalwell. Equity Literacy for All Equity Literacy for All.
- DiAngelo, Robin. Deconstructing White Privilege. Deconstructing White Privilege
- The Myth of Race: The Myth of Race
- Unconscious Bias: Unconscious Bias
- Hammond, Zaretta. Building Students’ Learning Muscles as our Equity Imperative. Building Students’ Learning Muscles as our Equity Imperative.
- DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility.
- Hammond, Zaretta. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.
- Kendi, Ibram. Stamped from the Beginning.
- Kendi, Ibram. How to Be An Antiracist.
- Love, Bettina. We Want to Do More Than Survive.
- Minor, Cornelius. We Got This.
- Tatum, Beverly. Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.
- Coates, T-Nehisi. Between the World and Me
Each year, the South Colonie school community is invited to enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors from around the world as South Colonie families, teachers, and community members come together to celebrate the diversity of cultures that make up the South Colonie student body.
As DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) remains a crucial focus in our nation, workplaces, and schools, South Colonie is dedicated to continuous improvement in this area.
South Colonie will work towards cultivating a culture of inclusion and ensuring that our educational community reflects the diversity of our students and their families. Through ongoing training and collaborative efforts, we will continue to foster an environment where all individuals are valued, respected, and provided with equal opportunities to succeed.