Spencerport seeks volunteers for newly created Equity Committee

By on December 30, 2019

Culture. Race. Diversity. Inclusion. Equity. Access. Every individual reflects on these words differently, with personal viewpoints, beliefs, and experiences. As a nation and even in our communities, addressing these differences often has become uncomfortable and divisive. While there is great potential of these conversations; there is also a responsibility to ensure all students receive equal access to a quality education in a learning environment that is safe, welcoming, and free of discrimination. 

The words, Culturally Responsive Education (CRE), are being used more and more in New York State Education as a framework to create student-centered learning environments that:

•Affirm racial, linguistic and cultural identities; 

•Prepare students for rigor and independent learning; 

•Develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference; 

•Elevate historically marginalized voices; and 

•Empower students as agents of social change.

Information on the principles of CRE and its intended outcome can be found at http://www.nysed.gov/crs/framework. 

Locally, the Spencerport Central School District initiated work around CRE last school year with a multi-tiered approach. This approach engaged different stakeholders in a series of conversations in the area of CRE.

Spencerport has held a series of five summits so far to gain student perspectives on diversity and CRE in the district. Led by Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ty Zinkiewich, students from Cosgrove and the high school have offered insight and personal experiences on race, culture, equity, instruction, and curriculum. 

Spencerport’s Board of Education, superintendent, and leadership have committed to ongoing professional learning and support around CRE. Last summer, administrators focused on social emotional learning, as well as CRE, during their annual retreat. Twenty-four SCSD teachers, counselors, principals and administrators are also attending a six-part training to further develop CRE competency within the district. 

The October Superintendent’s Conference Day focused on building awareness around CRE for teachers and staff. The day included breakout sessions and a student-led panel to encourage open dialogue, invite change, and embrace more culturally diverse curriculum. 

Community engagement will be another key area in Spencerport’s work with CRE. The district held a meeting with one stakeholder group so far – the Spencerport/Urban Suburban parents. Zinkiewich and building principals provided an update on the district’s work and obtained feedback and suggestions. 

To extend this effort, Spencerport Central School District has created an Equity Committee and would like representation from district parents and the community. Interested volunteers are asked to send an email of interest to info@spencerportschools.org. The goal of this committee is to gain insight and guidance on the district’s CRE efforts. Meetings will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Spencerport District Office building, 71 Lyell Avenue, on the following Wednesdays: January 29, March 25, and May 20, 2020.

Visit spencerportschools.org for updates on the district’s CRE work. Contact Ty Zinkiewich at tzinkiewich@spencerportschools.org with any questions or suggestions.

Provided information