Sharpening our focus on educational equity

The Schoharie Central School District is entrusted by its residents to provide an educational program and services that meet the needs of its students. The 2019-20 school year budget includes funding to help ensure educational equity for all who attend Schoharie schools. More than treating everyone as an equal, equity is giving every student what they need to be successful.

“It is our mission to prepare students to succeed in today’s global society,” said Superintendent David M. Blanchard. “It is also our responsibility to prepare our graduates for the world they will encounter after high school, whether they attend college or technical school, pursue a career, enter military service or reach for other goals.

An excellent range of opportunities

“Indeed, according to federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and New York State Education Department (SED) standards, Schoharie is in good standing and earned the highest rating for its graduation rate and preparing students for college, career and civic readiness,” he said.

“We provide students with an excellent range of opportunities including career and technical education, Advanced Placement and University in the High School programs. We are proud of these strengths.

“However,” Blanchard noted, “the same ESSA and SED reports show the district needs to improve in a number of areas. Schoharie needs to better serve the educational needs of students in grades K-12 who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities or are multiracial; these determinations were based on academic performance as measured by Regents exams and other assessments. In the high school, the district also must address chronic absenteeism.”

Partnering with Generation Ready

Given these findings, Schoharie Central School District is embarking on efforts to ensure educational equity across the entire school population. The district is partnering with Generation Ready, a New York-based company that works with school districts to tackle issues including equity and cultural proficiency.

A school district is culturally proficient when its practices and policies enable it to engage effectively with those of diverse backgrounds and cultures. This spring, Generation Ready will survey students, staff, parents and guardians to gauge Schoharie Central School District’s level of cultural proficiency.

Beginning next fall, a period of instruction will be added to the seventh grade curriculum that will focus on diversity, learning about racism and embracing differences.

“All of our students need to see their lives reflected in the education they receive in Schoharie, and our district needs to adapt to the needs of the entire student population,” Blanchard said. “Our elementary school has already embraced the No Place for Hate and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs, and we will build on that good work.

So each student can reach their potential

“The district’s partnership with Generation Ready and efforts to promote equity and cultural proficiency across all grades will reinforce our strengths, address our weaknesses and foster a positive and inclusive environment that allows each of our students to reach their full potential.”