Superintendent’s Update: Equity Initiative

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Dear DCS community:

I wanted to share an article that we have posted on our website about a recent series of assemblies that took place in our high school last week. You can click here to read the article.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, several community members expressed concern over these assemblies, which focused on the damage that biases and stereotypes can do. The assemblies were part of an ongoing effort of the district to make sure that all of our students feel supported and have the tools they need to be successful in school and beyond.  To be clear, there are no school rules banning holiday cheer or wishing others Merry Christmas and no student was accused of racism.

I understand that national media attention on school districts’ efforts to achieve better equity in schools has recently made this issue politically divisive; however, there is nothing new about Duanesburg CSD teaching students to be kind and respect one another. Preparing students to be good citizens is the central work of public education. We have come a very long way from schools being places where students merely learn the basic educational tools of reading, writing, and math.

Like many of you, I was brought up to believe that it was potentially harmful to acknowledge differences in people. What I have come to learn, however, is that not acknowledging differences makes some people uncomfortable expressing who they are. In school, this could lead to people feeling unwelcome or left out. By celebrating everyone’s uniqueness, we can make sure that everyone who comes to school feels a sense of belonging. Hopefully, by being more comfortable in our school environment, our students can achieve even greater success.  

If you are interested in this topic, I would invite you to view a few more items on our website:

Draft of Equity Policy

9/7/21: Teachers discuss diversity, equity and inclusion in schools

12/1/21: Duanesburg CSD: Equity Statement of Commitment

Thank you for your continued support,

Dr. James Niedermeier