NRHS Principal Reginald Richardson (right) and Chief Academic Officer Magda Parvey (left) provided an update to the Board of Education on Cultural Competency initiatives.

District Outlines Cultural Competency Initiatives

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Two City School District of New Rochelle administrators this week outlined ongoing initiatives the District has taken on to be sure that all students have the same opportunities. 

“Recognizing the difference between achievement gap and opportunity gap has been an important part of our work,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Magda Parvey, the District’s Chief Academic Officer, at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, held in the Lincoln Attendance Zone.

Last year, the district began a five-year partnership with New York University’s Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality to institute professional development that fosters equity and cultural competence. The program began with a “root cause analysis walkthrough” in each school. To date, 70 teachers, administrators and other personnel in the district have met seven times to receive training in culturally responsive practices and to draft initial action plans for putting the practices in place.

As a next step, the district has formed a Guardians of Equity Committee to continue focusing on equity and to serve students more effectively by discussing which students need which opportunities. The committee, comprised of teachers, building administrators, central office administrators and clinical staff, will meet monthly through May.

Further, in an effort to build capacity, Equity Teams, are being considered as a way to put in place training for more personnel throughout the district.

New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson outlined a host of programs and measures being taken by the district and more than 100 community partners, a major one being My Brother’s Keeper New Rochelle.

One initiative helps family care providers prepare students to enter school. This is part of a goal to have every student read at grade level by third grade.  

“We have a lot of independent childcare situations in the district,” Richardson said. “We want to put them in touch with good, solid curriculum so that the children can enter school ready to engage, ready to excel.”

Another MBK program placed 66 youngsters in summer camp this past summer thanks to the generosity of a donor who asked to remain anonymous.

Richardson also discussed initiatives to engage the community in the conversation, including a summer community reading program called New Rochelle All on the Same Page, a recent talk on implicit bias by Dr. Bryant Marks of Morehouse College, and the private screening of the movie Marshall, about the early career of Thurgood Marshall, who would go on to become the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the end of the presentation, Richardson praised the residents who attended the meeting, saying that the community is an integral part of providing the best education possible for all students.

“This stuff doesn’t happen – it’s not successful – without the people sitting in this room,” he said. “That’s what makes this work. It’s the engine that makes this go. I’m so moved by the love you show for your children.”