Midyear DEI Status Update

At the start of the 2022-23 school year, the Guilderland Central School District partnered with Progression Partners, an organization that assists school districts in fulfilling diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals. Progression Partners provides support to all stakeholders in the education system — administrators, students, staff and families — to create inclusive learning environments through policy adoption and implementation, professional development and data-driven practices, while being reflective of individual school communities.

Progression Partners developed a comprehensive, year-long program for GCSD with the goal of advancing the district’s DEI work in significant, actionable and perceptible ways. Outlined below are five of the primary components to this program and the status of each:

Equity Institute Training

Since the summer, seven teams of faculty, staff and administrators from each of our school buildings have participated in equity institute training, which is a comprehensive, five-part workshop series that explores the foundation of equity and how it can be achieved through policies and practices established by the district. These workshops allowed school equity teams to participate in professional development activities that increased their knowledge of equity and cultural proficiency, all with the goal of creating equitable learning environments.

Equity Learning Walks

Conducted at each of the seven GCSD school buildings in November, equity learning walks gave equity teams and the Progression Partners consultant the opportunity to assess each school’s environment. Teams walked through the buildings to consider the climate and culture, examine data and visit classrooms to determine if the environment is conducive to learning success for all students. In addition, policies, procedures and communications to families were reviewed for consistency, inclusivity and equity.

Focus Groups

Regularly gathering stakeholder feedback and input is common practice for GCSD, and DEI work is no exception. Throughout the month of January, the district conducted a mix of virtual and in person focus groups with students, families and staff to listen to varied perspectives. These sessions were designed to collect information on the climate of the individual schools and the district, based on the experiences and expertise of the group. The information compiled will be used as key feedback elements in the creation of actionable and effective plans that will guide each GCSD school building in their DEI work.

Equity Action Planning

Using the knowledge and data gathered from the equity walks, focus groups and other data sources, the Progression Partners consultant will assist each school building equity team in developing an action plan. These plans will be created by the spring and will be specific and customized for each GCSD building based on the size, demography and other needs of the building. All of the action plans will have short-term (1-2 years), mid-term (3-4 years) and long-term (5-6 years) goals that will help move districtwide and building-level DEI work forward. Once the plans have been developed and reviewed, they will be shared with each school community.

Fireside Chats

To continue the conversation, while including the broader Guilderland community, the DEI Engagement Committee will host “fireside chats” at the Guilderland Public Library. The purpose of these forums is to provide community members with the opportunity to participate in discussions centered around DEI. Residents can ask questions, discuss personal experiences and learn more about the district’s DEI work, in an informal, relaxed setting. Upcoming fireside chats are scheduled for:

  • February 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • March 21, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • April 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • May 16, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
  • June 8, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
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