At its June 24 meeting, the Monticello Board of Education heard an Equity Snapshot presentation from the Bank Street College of Education (BSCE). The presentation was the cumulation of a six-month-long partnership with the district where BSCE led an equity workgroup comprised of teachers, support staff and community members to identify the district’s strengths, challenges and resources related to equity and instruction.
The district had engaged the BSCE after being designated as a “target district” by the New York State Education Department, after data indicated a lack of progress in outcomes for Black and Hispanic students. In response to the designation, the district created a District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP) and a Professional Learning Plan to address these disparities and improve outcomes for all students. As part of the priorities and goals named in these plans, the district engaged the BSCE to co-develop the capacity of staff to implement culturally responsive and sustaining practices grounded in anti-bias and anti-racism frameworks.
Over the past six months leading up to the equity snapshot presentation, the BSCE collected information through publicly-available data, digital survey responses, staff, student and community focus groups, and virtual classroom observations. This wealth of data was then reviewed and analyzed by the district’s equity workgroup over a series of sessions. The group synthesized the data and collaboratively identified three priorities for the upcoming school year:
- Perspectives on family engagement
- Professional support for anti-racism and equity work
- Student experiences at school vs. student metrics
With these priorities identified, the district will work to identify strategies to provide support, professional development and coaching that will empower staff to attend to each of these priority areas.
“I want to make clear that this work was done by our teachers, administrators and community members,” Monticello Board of Education President Lori Orestano-James said. “Students, family and staff members must feel valued, cared for respected and heard –the only way success will happen is through reflection and collaboration. There will be more opportunities for our community to become involved in the process. When new surveys come out, please get involved because that is what’s driving this process. This is a lot of dialogue – there won’t be massive changes in September. This is about seeing the data, reflecting on the data and making changes that will better our community as a whole. We may not all agree, but this dialogue will help us build consensus. Our community deserves this. Our students deserve this. We will be building this change together; we will be building this future together.”
Watch the Equity Snapshot Presentation in its entirety to learn more: