SARATOGA SPRINGS —Saratoga Springs City School District held a Board of Education workshop on Oct. 26 to discuss the ongoing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) efforts in the district.
District-Wide DEI Committee
The District-Wide DEI Committee meets once a month for one hour. All meetings are open for the public to watch via WebEx.
The Committee is divided into subcommittees to focus on the following: curriculum and instruction, culture and climate, communications, hiring and retention practices, policy, and a steering committee.
There are four open community spots on the committee. If you are interested in applying for a spot, please visit the District’s website at www.saratogaschools.org to fill out the SSCSD Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Interest Form by Friday, Oct. 29.
Examples of SSCSD Past and Present DEI Work
The Board of Education was presented with examples of past and present work done by the committee aligning with the DEI framework. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: the school website and school messenger has a language translation feature for multiple languages; PSAT costs are offset by the district for all students, with 800 sophomores and juniors taking advantage of that this past year; AP classes are open enrollment, meaning no prerequisites; the district has Best Buddies and Unified Sports programs; the teacher-run Community SnackPack Program provides meals to students and their families in need over the weekend; review of hiring and retention practices; and curriculum renewal with an equity lens, meaning textbooks and materials are reflective of the student population.
Leading into BEDS Day demographics, in which enrolled students and staff self-identified themselves into cohorts, from 2012 to 2021 there was a significant increase in multiracial students. There was also a 2% increase in economically disadvantaged students.
From 2018 to 2021, there was increase in graduation rate of all students, regardless of self-identified cohort, from 91.1% to 93.8%. There was also an increase from 57% to 64.9% of students who graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma.
Looking at the demographics, the committee should be able to determine trends and track what programs, intervention, support, and other DEI efforts are successful.
Generation Ready Partnership
The SSCSD had partnered with Anna Muñoz from Generation Ready to guide their work and align them with the NYSED (or NYS Board of Regents) DEI and CR-S Framework that came out in the spring. It is recommended that schools in our state adopt the NYSED framework, but it is not required.
Some elements the district has taken from the NYS Board of Regents framework is: governance, the 1st step, to establish a DEI Committee; teaching and learning; family and community engagement; workforce diversity; diverse schools and learning opportunities; and student supports, discipline, and wellness. To view the complete framework, visit www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/421brd1.pdf.
In the workshop, Muñoz led the board members through an activity about the power of labels and how perspective influences how we interpret and respond to situations, and the implications that has as an educator.
During the 2021-2022 school year, the DEI Committee will continue to work on aligning the district with NYSED/NYS Board of Regents DEI and CR-S Framework.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Patton said they are willing to have an open forum with community members to address their concerns about the DEI policies, but that it will most likely be scheduled for the spring of 2022.
It was also brought up that several 2nd grade teachers have concerns with two unnamed books in the current curriculum. Administrators are aware and working to address the concerns. If a teacher has any DEI concerns regarding their curriculum or teaching materials, they should address it with their respective principal.