To better align with similar work being done across New York state, the Guilderland Central School District’s Equity and Diversity Committee will now be known as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. While the name change may seem insignificant, it signals a larger function.
An initial task for the committee was to provide clarity to the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion and how they relate to learning in the Guilderland Central School District. As the committee worked to define these terms, it became clear their order is just as impactful as their meaning. It’s the order that provides a sequence of actionable steps towards achieving the GCSD mission of ensuring all of our students, families and employees are heard, seen, safe, valued, respected and welcome in our school community.
Diversity — Be open.
Diversity is being open to what makes each of us unique by bringing those different identities and perspectives to our school community.
- Identifying those who have not been adequately considered because of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, appearance, age, ability, educational level, learning style and other characteristics; and
- Inviting everyone to fully participate in all aspects of school life.*
Equity — Be fair.
Equity is different from equality. Equality is giving everyone the same things. Equity is being fair to each and every person by considering their specific needs and making sure each individual has what they need to achieve their own goals.
This includes providing access, opportunity and advancement for all by striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of individuals from all groups.*
Inclusion — Build together.
Inclusion is building together by using the interests and views of all our students, families and employees to make decisions that uncover and repair historical inequities and set all students up for success.
This includes authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and groups into collaborative, co-creative processes, activities and decision/policymaking in ways that share power and ensure equal access to opportunities and resources.*
To oversee and coordinate this work, GCSD will hire a director of diversity, equity and inclusion. The position was added to the 2021-2022 budget approved by voters on May 18. This individual will be a full-time, dedicated leader in creating an inclusive and welcoming space for all students and staff.
* Based on the University of California, Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity and the University of Houston’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion definitions in The NYS Board of Regents Framework on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in New York’s Schools: A Call to Action