At the Valley Central Board of Education meeting last Monday, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Marianne Serratore announced the revival of the racial and social equity committee.
The group had previously operated during the summer as an ad hoc committee, meeting regularly in June and July. They also met once in August. In order to improve racial equity moving forward, the district has named a high school teacher to work as an equity coach to help them research this issue and make sure they are moving in the right direction.
The committee will review, evaluate and revise the curriculum to make sure it is all inclusive. They will also work to hire a more diverse staff. The group hopes to establish a culture of anti-racism through professional development. In addition, they plan to review the district’s code of conduct to ensure that policies and procedures regarding discipline and the district’s response to incidents of bias are fair. Surveys regarding racism in the district will be sent to parents, staff and students.
This group will consist of a board of education member, district parents, students, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, administrators, a district office administrator and a superintendent.
Serratore noted that the public will receive more information shortly regarding this committee. There will be an application process through a Google Form. This will be emailed to community members and posted on social media as well as on the district’s website.
“We’re hoping to have that out before Thanksgiving and then we will have our first meeting sometime in December,” Serratore said.
Despite an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the district, Serratore believes that opening schools for hybrid in-person instruction was the right decision. The Valley Central School District was one of only a handful of local school districts that began the year with this learning format.
“We opened right when the window was there, the best window to open, because you’re never going to have a community where there’s no positives,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools John Xanthis used a sports analogy to explain the district’s reopening.
“Some schools are still in the locker room and that’s okay, that’s their decision,” he said. “But we took the field and we’re doing the best we can.”