Dear New Rochelle community,
Over the past months, we have publicly reviewed data from all of our schools at Board of Education meetings, and the data have revealed disparities in the ways in which Black and Brown students experience education in our District. We have also been listening to the many voices of our community members who have shared their experiences as students and parents/guardians in our schools. Some of these experiences came to light in a Community Healing Circle we held June 5, which brought us forthright and invaluable information from many members of the community.
It is time to move beyond gathering information to formulating strategies and initiatives to address this challenge. We must hold this up as a priority that is second to none if we are to fulfill this District’s mission.
Both locally and nationally, this is a problem that has too often been ignored, or acknowledged but insufficiently addressed. This can no longer be accepted. It is time to face these issues head on.
We are establishing the Equity and Access Committee to take a deeper dive into what we have learned and to recommend action steps to eliminate systemic barriers to equity and access in our District. It will be co-chaired by Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Alex Marrero and New Rochelle High School Interim Assistant Principal Rachel Cornelius.
The committee will be charged with exploring obstacles to equity, fairness and equal access in the District. Among the topics it will examine or consider are several that arose in the healing circle. They were:
- The impact of sending students from the Lincoln Attendance Zone to the geographically distant George M. Davis Elementary School.
- Culturally responsive education.
- The establishment of a permanent Truth Reconciliation Committee at New Rochelle High School to support students and their rights under the Dignity for All Students Act and to contemplate meaningful measures to ensure equity and access for all.
- To ensure that we are actively recruiting talented and diverse candidates
We are committed to genuine, transformative change in our school system. We look forward to establishing the Equity and Access Committee in a timely manner and seeing it get to work. We hope you will consider joining in this initiative.