South Colonie Central School District Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee has continued its work. Since the committee’s last full committee meeting in August, subcommittees have been meeting regularly to continue the work to support a more inclusive environment at South Colonie.
“Over the last several months our staff has dedicated a considerable amount of time and resources to continue this important work,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Perry. “We recognize the commitment required for us to not only be a district where differences are recognized and valued but that everyone feels a sense of belonging is not only a priority for us but also a choice that we need to make daily. The update below sheds some light on some of our work and initiatives but the equity report card really showcases a starting place with data for us to build. We look forward to continuing these important conversations with our staff, students, and families in order to provide a more inclusive equitable space for everyone.”
South Colonie welcomes new DEI coordinator
At the start of the 2021-22 school year, South Colonie announced the appointment of Mr. Timothy Fowler to lead the district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. In addition to his role as Supervisor of Pupil Services, Fowler will continue to work alongside the South Colonie DEI Committee to enhance the overall school environment, addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity across the district.
Professional development at the forefront
As DEI continues to be an important topic in our nation, workplace, and schools, South Colonie remains committed to improvement in this area. To that end, on Friday, Oct. 8 South Colonie faculty and staff members from across the district participated in a DEI training session and facilitated workshops. The session not only provided an update on the DEI work at both the district and building levels but also provided space for employees to feel empowered to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive space for students and families.
This training is one step towards building a comprehensive system designed to provide employees with the opportunity to listen, learn, and build strategies to address achievement inequities in their classrooms. Staff and faculty will have the opportunity to participate in collaborative state-wide training, group book studies, and PLC sessions on specific topics at the building level.
South Colonie releases first edition 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.
As South Colonie continues on the journey to becoming a more inclusive environment for students and faculty, the district has begun and will continue to make progress toward evaluating our internal and external communication efforts as well as creating a shared space for resources to extend learning throughout our school buildings.
The next district-wide committee meeting is set for Nov. 8 More information on the committee can be found here.