Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District acts on New York State Education Department’s “call to action” by creating racially segregated groups; middle school social justice club has “courageous conversations about the intersectionality of identity and race”
In 2018, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) issued the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining (CR-S) Education Framework. The Framework was designed “to support education stakeholders in developing and implementing policies that educate all students effectively and equitably, as well as provide appropriate supports and services to promote positive student outcomes.”
In April 2021, the New York Board of Regents released a draft framework and “call to action for all schools in New York State to develop policies that advance diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority in their schools.”
In May 2021, the Board of Regents followed up by releasing a “Policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” stating that “the Board expects that all school districts and institutions of higher education will develop and implement policies and practices that advance diversity, equity and inclusion – and that they will implement such policies and practices with fidelity and urgency.”
In June 2021, the NY Board of Regents and NYSED published a guide for implementation of the CR-S Education Framework as well as six CR-S Framework “briefs” to highlight the important concepts of the CR-S Framework and to provide a resource to educators, administrators, parents/caregivers, community members and students.
The Dobbs Free Union Free School District’s race and equity webpage lists the following groups (all descriptions are taken exactly as written from the descriptions on the website):
- White Allies Anti-Racism Study and Action Group
The White Allies Anti-Racism Study and Action Group began meeting over the summer with the expressed goal of: “How can I learn about, understand, and address issues of racism in myself and in my work as a staff member of the Dobbs Ferry School District and an ally of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)?” Over the summer, we read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell. This school year, we are reading Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. All of this work is meant to allow us to form a brave space to engage with the current and historical roots and effects of personal, structural, and institutional racism. Ultimately, this will inform action in our work as educators and our lives as citizens.
- BIPOC Student Union
This student group is organized to promote racial justice and equity, as well as engage and elevate BIPOC student voices. The BIPOC Student Union provides a safe space to engage, empower, and promote activism. The BIPOC Student Union aims to work with the District and the community to educate and promote restorative and racial justice, and equity.
- Dobbs Ferry High School Racial and Social Justice Club
The High School Racial and Social Justice Club creates a space for students to have active discussions about the prevailing racism in the community and beyond. This club allows open-minded students to practice the IB learner profile traits, such as principled, communicators, and thinkers.
By forming this club, students believe that they can create a more inclusive environment within the school and community.
Goals of the club include:
- Implement discussions about white privilege and racism in our community.
- Study reading materials for purposes of education on race and social justice issues
- Explore the meaning of “whiteness”.
- Education about white privilege.
- Help our school become more aware of racism outside of the Dobbs Ferry community.
- Work with the BIPOC Student Union
- Discuss how minority groups, such as the LGBTQIA+ community, are oppressed.
- Learn how to be true allies
- Dobbs Ferry Middle School Racial and Social Justice Club
The Middle School Social Justice Club’s goal is to develop a safe space where students can learn to have courageous conversations about their intersectionality of identity and race. This will be a place for students to provide social-emotional peer support as well a place to gain the tools to develop caring relationships for one another in an inclusive and diverse environment.
- Race Matters Committee The District Race Matters Committee was formed in December 2020 with the goal of creating a space for students, BOE members, staff, parents, and community to discuss issues of race, equity, access, and the intersectionality of other marginalized groups, such as LGBTQ students in our schools. The goal of this committee is to present a series of recommendations to the Board of Education in Spring 2021 for inclusion in the District Equity Plan which will be developed during Summer 2021 for introduction in September. The committee is comprised of 40 members included in this group through an application process which included 65 people interested in participating.
- Race Matters Core Team The Race Matters Core Team is composed of teachers and staff representing all three schools, and has been meeting since the summer of 2020 in its current format. Originally working since September 2019 as the District’s Equity Team, the group was formed by the Superintendent to help discuss and develop a pathway for expanding equity work in the District. The committee met regularly to discuss classroom challenges and obstacles to forward momentum in the areas of curriculum and lesson planning and design. The committee also served as a support group for staff trying to navigate difficult conversations and to help the Superintendent think through strategies to involve more staff in equity work. In February of 2020, the Superintendent introduced the group to Natalie McCabe Zwerger of NYU Metro Center for Equity and the Transformation of Schools to help organize and strategize a larger District approach.
Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District’s Race Matters Committee meets monthly and is facilitated by Natalie McCabe Zwerger, Esq. M.Ed.Director, CSS NYU Steinhardt Metro Center.
Below are screenshots of excerpts from meeting minutes:
To see more meeting minutes, click on the links below:
A Sampling of Professional Development Dobss Ferry Staff
Have Participated in July 2017 – Present
- 13th Annual Changing Suburbs Institute Educational Forum
● 2020 Summer Institute for Race, Equity, and Social Justice
● Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom by being Culturally Responsive
● Allies of BIPOC Study Group
● Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Evaluations
● Culturally Responsive Teaching 101
● How Do We Help Students Become Civically Engaged?
● Implicit Bias 101
● Multiple Dimensions of Identity: How Does Identity Impact Student Achievement
● New York State Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework,
● Book Study – Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and
Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
● Book Study – For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality
Pedagogy and Urban Education
● Teaching with Poverty in Mind
● Bias Busting Workshop (Race, Equity and Social Justice)
● Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send
● Social Emotional Learning & Culturally Responsive Education: How Are They Compatible?
● Summer Institute II for Race, Equity, and Social Justice
● The Legal Rights of Transgender and Sexually Fluid Students: What Every School Leader
● Unconscious Bias: Personal and Professional Impact
● White Allies Anti-Racism Study and Action Group
● Zoom – Understanding Diversity: How our Schools Are Changing
● Implicit Bias: The Unconscious Impact
● ‘Fostering culturally responsive classrooms through storytelling