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Massena Central School moving ahead with diversity, equity and inclusion policy

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MASSENA — The Massena Central school District had named Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as one of its goals for the school year, and Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said they’re working to develop policy and procedures for implementation in the district.

That process began last summer during a board retreat that was facilitated by the New York State School Boards Association to learn more about what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion meant or didn’t mean.

“Since that time, we’ve formed an administrative committee which is in the district goals to review the guidelines, the frameworks and resources. We also met with a consultant because there’s some discussion about whether we would bring on a consultant to take us through this process of creating a DEI policy and creating practices within our districts,” Mr. Brady said.

He said they’ve also connected with other districts that have already developed a policy, such as New Hartford, “in order to gain their perspectives on what were some of the areas of challenges as well as celebration in the first part of developing and implementing a policy.”

In addition, Mr. Brady said the district’s committee has participated in various workshops.

“We’ve also at the regional level started to look as regional superintendents and with the BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) to develop a COSER (cooperative service agreement) where we can get support through a COSER for a coordinator who could support districts, or possibly use that COSER for consultant work because it’s important that we do this right and we do it measured. It’s not a topic that is good for communities and for boards of education to go into quickly,” he said.

He said the goal was to create a welcoming environment for all students.

“It’s about creating an environment in schools that our students want to be there and everybody feels a connection to, whether it’s based on race, whether it’s based on their socioeconomic status, their gender status or whatever that designating feature is, that they feel comfortable in that school, they feel supported in that school,” Mr. Brady said.

That already takes place in the district, he said.

“That work, whether we have a policy or not, goes on every day in our schools. So, we will continue that work, but the next step in this process is to branch out and form a wider committee as we go into next year, and be looking at developing specific policy and practice. We felt this year was a year to get ready to start looking at what this meant and what it doesn’t mean,” he said.

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