Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitments & Policy
In the North Salem Central School District, our dedication to our Mission is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is essential to our Mission to ensure that all members of our community have the full opportunity to succeed. We believe that diversity is critical for individuals to deepen and broaden their learning and advance knowledge and understanding.
We acknowledge that as a District we are all learning how to engage in the work of dismantling and disrupting racism and inequities in all its forms. We approach this work humbly and fully aware that we do not know all the answers and that even with the best of intentions we will make mistakes along the way. We will also learn from our mistakes and improve. We approach this work with a growth mindset and as learners. We will exercise Habits of Mind that include but are not limited to Persisting, Listening with Empathy and Understanding, thinking about our thinking, questioning and problem posing, thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, thinking interdependently, and remaining open to continuous learning. We are committed to this work in joint collaboration with all our faculty and staff to improve our District for our entire North Salem Community.
The following 5 reasons articulate why we are engaged in the work of equity, diversity, and inclusion:
The first reason is our
- Mission & Beliefs
- We are called to engage all our students to continuously learn, question, define and solve problems through critical and creative thinking.
In order to achieve our mission,
- All students must be supported and challenged to continuously improve.
- The learning environment must be safe, ethical, and respectful.
- And everyone in the community shares responsibility for student development.
Secondly, the indicators on our
- Profile of a North Salem Graduate, states that our students will
- Show empathy, compassion and respect for individuals and cultures on local, national and international levels
- Actively engage in school and community in a way that respectfully addresses the needs of groups and individuals
- The indicators on our Profile of a North Salem 5th Grader, state that our students will .
- Display kind, empathic, respectful, responsible, honest and safe behavior towards self and others
- Demonstrate intentional kindness towards others and appreciate differences
- Act as a role model for other students
- Engage in healthy and positive practices and relationships
Thirdly, we are mandated by the State and federal government through ESSA.
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) represents an opportunity to equitably design education systems to ensure that the students who have historically been underserved receive an education that prepares them for the demands of the 21st century. ESSA contains a number of new provisions to advance equity and excellence for students of color, low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and those who are homeless or in foster care.
Fourthly, the BOE has promised to take the following actions:
- Provide leadership through participation and education in community-based efforts that promote equity and tolerance.
- Allocate resources which will allow our faculty and staff to fully participate in educational community efforts, such as (but not limited to) the BOCES Regional Equity and Diversity Steering Committee.
- Most importantly, to create an Ad Hoc Board Committee consisting of board members, administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members. This group will be tasked to perform an institutional inventory of bias in curriculum, instruction and behavior and charged with making recommendations for improvement.
With the ultimate goal to insure that all students and their families feel safe and welcome in our schools.
Last but certainly not least, our students, families and staff have asked us:
- Dismantle all forms of racism and inequity, and realize a school district free of prejudice, discrimination and antagonism that disturbs opportunity, community and understanding.
- Work to diversify and sustain a diverse faculty and staff population that reflects our student population
- Reflect on and improve our policies, disciplinary system and code of conduct to improve our responsiveness to acts of racism and discrimination
- Centralize diverse students and families when implementing changes related to equity, diversity, and inclusion
- Provide a curriculum that educates students on equity, diversity and inclusion as well as diversifies our existing curriculum
- Train new and existing staff to avoid and prevent inequities, microaggressions and racism.
- Hold all stakeholders accountable for racist and exclusionary language and actions
- Convene regular forums to hear from diverse students and families on their perceptions of our progress
- Publicize and communicate our efforts
We will provide ongoing professional development in EDI to our faculty and staff.
Through our partnerships with PNW, Southern Westchester and the Hudson River Teacher Center, we will communicate ongoing opportunities for professional development in EDI
Our various committees, Mission, PD, MHAT, Wellness, BOE and Warr;ors Club will continuously analyze our practices, reflect upon them and communicate about areas in which we can contribute to EDI in our district.
Our BOE members, administrators, teachers, students, staff, parents and community members will work on an institutional inventory of bias in our curriculum instruction and student discipline and will be charged with making recommendations for improvement.
North Salem Board of Education Policy
0105 EQUITY, INCLUSIVITY, AND DIVERSITY IN EDUCATION
Our students, staff and stakeholders bring their personal backgrounds into our schools and the District is richer for it. Each of them has a legitimate expectation to have a barrier-free learning environment counteracting the contemporary and historical impact of bias, prejudice and discrimination which for generations has produced a predictability of learning outcomes based on race, class, socioeconomics, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, cognitive/physical ability, diverse language fluency, and religion.
It is the obligation of the District to embrace the diversity within our District while actively eliminating practices that perpetuate the disparities among our students so that all students have the opportunity to benefit equally. These disparities are unacceptable and are directly at odds with the Board's Vision that North Salem Schools are a community that ensures equitable access to a world class education unleashing the potential of every student.
In order to secure this vision, the District will focus on the individual and unique needs of each student. Therefore, the Board established the following course of action:
- Foster the universal values as expressed and adopted in the attached Working Definitions for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Excellence in Education so that these values are shared across the District by a wide range of students, staff and stakeholders who are committed to act on these values without bias, prejudice, or discrimination.
- Commit to ensuring that fairness, equity and inclusion are essential principles of our school system fully integrating these principles into all of our policies, programs, curriculum and practices.
- Adopt a teaching and learning culture that includes high expectations of students and staff, varied teaching and learning styles, and individualized as well as systemic supports for teachers and students.
- Create multiple learning pathways that widen access to educational opportunities and lifelong success.
- Provide high quality, culturally relevant and responsive curricula for all students and teachers regardless of learning sites.
- Eliminate District policies, structures, and practices that perpetuate inequities and contribute to disproportionality of access and outcomes.
- Identify, develop and apply best instructional practices that have demonstrably made a positive difference for students and groups of students in order to reduce prevalent and persistent learning outcome gaps.
- Allocate annually the District's many financial, capital and human resources equitably.
- Facilitate equitable access to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, social services, tutoring, and enrichment opportunities.
- Engage, include and collaborate with our families, students, residents, communities, and stakeholders as this Board recognizes that their active involvement is essential to the Board's own responsibility for effective and equitable governance.
To that end, the Board holds itself and all District and school site decision makers, faculty, support staff and participants accountable for building a District-wide culture of equity.
The Board directs the Superintendent to develop a plan with clear and measurable accountability standards and procedures that can be assessed and reported transparently to the public. The Equity Plan will be submitted annually to the Board for approval and its subsequent implementation by all departments and school sites will be reviewed by the Board at least semi-annually.
Working Definitions for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Excellence in Education
To be fully engaged community members in the 21st century, we need to embrace diversity. In the classroom, in the workplace, on the playing field – throughout our school district – we must understand how race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and cognitive/physical ability impact the educational process. Therefore, the Board of Education will adopt the following working definitions for diversity, equity, inclusion and excellence in education:
Requires that we see, value, and embrace the differences that make each of us unique. It demands:
- Leveraging our differences to make us stronger
- Recognizing that understanding our biases and working to embrace diversity is a lifelong journey
- Believing a diverse educational community creates the most powerful and effective learning environment
Equity in Education
Requires that we, as a community, share responsibility for addressing the opportunity gaps that exist within our society and impact our students' ability to reach their full potential. It demands:
- Creating solutions that level the playing field while concurrently raising the bar for all students
- Providing each student appropriate resources they need to achieve success
- Providing safe school environments for all students in collaboration with the broader communities
Inclusion in Education
Requires that our district chooses to be a welcoming environment that reflects our whole community as we seek to positively support and advance the educational and developmental needs of our children. It demands:
- Accepting, valuing, and learning from each other's strengths and differences
- Listening to all the voices in our community, looking for the talents each individual possesses, and celebrating the diversity of backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences in our community
- Considering and embracing different points of view, teaching us to empathize with and understand perspectives and experiences unlike our own
Excellence In Education
Requires a collaborative effort among all educational stakeholders – students, families, community members – to seek out, create, and broaden opportunities and experiences that help our children excel as citizens of the world. It demands:
- Committing to high expectations and academic success for all students, and supporting our students in achieving their aspirations and highest potential
- Understanding that the talent, expertise, and awareness of our staff members is critical to our children's success
- Believing in the power and value of transformative relationships and experiences both inside and outside the classroom
- Appreciating and modeling lifelong learning
We acknowledge that there may arise rate situations that conflict with the values enumerated above. We will oppose them.
0000, Mission Statement and Vision
4000, Student Learning Standards and Instructional Guidelines
Readings: November 10, 2021, December 1, 2021
Adoption date: January 12, 2022
North Salem Central School District