Dear South Orangetown Families and Staff,
This fall marks the third anniversary of the founding of the District’s Equity Coalition. The Coalition is a standing advisory committee to the Superintendent with the advancement of equity and inclusion as its primary goal. It serves as a platform for the voices and perspectives of students, staff, parents and community members while developing a shared understanding and commitment towards equity and informing district-wide efforts.
Over the past three years, Coalition members have shared their own experiences to raise awareness about ways that our school district could better meet the needs of our increasingly diverse community. They provided valuable insights during the development of our Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in Education policy, which was adopted by the Board of Education in January 2022.
The Coalition has also contributed to the ongoing development of a broad range of program and administrative initiatives. These efforts include increasing funding for curriculum-aligned school field trips to minimize the financial burden on families; ensuring that all our students see themselves reflected in our curriculum; expanding our recruitment pathway to attract diverse job candidates; partnering with Rockland BOCES to enable more South Orangetown students with special needs to attend school in our district; and, providing early childhood literacy and parent support for families via the ParentChild+ program. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Joseph Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
After nearly a year of research, the Coalition helped us identify a partner to advance our work on equity and inclusion in a more structured and meaningful way. Starting in January 2024, a group of administrators, teachers, and staff will participate in a six-month training program with New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. This series will help us build capacity to provide professional development for all staff to create sustainable practices to align with our mission to “ensure that all students achieve to their fullest potential” and “to foster an inclusive school community based upon respect, responsibility, equity and global citizenship,” with access and ample opportunities for everyone.
Every SOCSD student is entitled to learn in a safe, nurturing, and welcoming environment. Parents, we need your help to actively promote an inclusive school district community. Please continue to talk to your children about being a source of support and friendship for others. Speak with them about how hateful words and symbols cause harm; monitor their cell phone/internet, social media, and use of technology to limit or elminate their exposure to violent and extremist content. Encourage your child(ren) to tell an adult if they see someone being bullied or harassed or are experiencing this themselves either in person or online.
There are several ways your child or family can make a report:
- Speak with a teacher, school counselor, psychologist, principal or assistant principal.
- Contact the DASA Coordinator for your child’s school.
- Students and families may also use Anonymous Alerts to report an incident. The Anonymous Alerts system is monitored from 8:30AM-3:30PM during regular school hours on days when school is in session. Do not use this system to report issues requiring an immediate response. In the event of an emergency, call 911.
We need your partnership to keep building connections and coming together. A strong sense of community is one of the things that makes our school district exceptional. It has been wonderful to see so many families attending sports, curriculum nights, Family Engagement Center activities and school events this year. I look forward to seeing you all in our schools in the weeks ahead.
Brian Culot, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
I invite you to read more about some of the past work of our Equity Coalition:
Expanding Equity: Board of Education Adopts Policy 0105 (2/17/22)
Expanding Equity: Parent Coalition Members Speak (3/10/21)
Expanding Equity: Staff Coalition Members Speak (2/2/21)
Expanding Equity: Student Coalition Members Speak (1/19/21)
Expanding Equity: SOCSD Launches Equity Coalition (10/1/20)
Expanding Equity: Developing Leadership Skills to Support Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (8/24/20)
Expanding Equity (7/16/20)