This page is intended to serve as a place where PCSD community members can find accurate information about the District. If you see information about the Pittsford Central School District that you believe is inaccurate and needs a Fact Check, please send your contact information, the facts you would like checked, and where you found the material to: Nancy Wayman, PCSD Communication Director, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pittsford Central School District response to allegations of racismPosted by Nancy Wayman on 4/29/2019 5:50:00 PM
Source of Inaccuracy: News Article
What is the District’s stance on racism?
The Superintendent of Schools and the Pittsford Board of Education spoke publicly and were clear at the Board of Education meeting on April 23, 2019, that racism and the use of the “n-word” will not be tolerated. Period. No exception.
Superintendent Pero reiterated this in a letter to PCSD parents and staff on April 25, 2019. PCSD is committed to not only eliminating racism, but creating a culture of full inclusion for everyone.
Were there consequences for the student incident that was reported in the news story?
While comments circulating in social media appear to assume no action was taken, this is not factual. The District is legally prohibited from discussing consequences for specific incidents, however all reports are taken seriously, dealt with swiftly, and appropriate consequences are applied.
What is the District doing to discuss the issue of racism?
In September of this year the Board of Education and Superintendent Pero created an Inclusivity Advisory Committee; a committee comprised of experts in all areas related to full inclusion. To learn more about the members of this committee, here’s a link to their video profiles: https://www.pittsfordschools.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=22444.
What is PCSD doing to move our community forward?
PCSD is taking the following immediate actions:
- Inclusivity Event on Racism on Thursday, May 2
Pittsford Central School District and the Town of Pittsford will host an inclusivity event on racism facilitated by Partners in Restorative Initiatives (PIRI). The event is from 6:30-8:30 pm at Calkins Road Middle School, in the Commons. While this is an inclusivity event on racism, PCSD is planning other events over the next school year to address full inclusivity. More details will follow as they become available.
Superintendent Pero has invited the NYS Education Department’s Center for School Safety to conduct an audit of PCSD’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) process, culture and climate in our schools, and District policies. Results of the audit will be shared with the community once it is completed.
Zero tolerance for racism and the use of the “n word”
PCSD is committed to eliminating all forms of racism and hatred toward any individual or group. There is a lot of misinformation circulating in the community about our handling of these issues. While the District is legally prohibited from discussing consequences for specific incidents, please be assured that all reports are taken seriously, dealt with swiftly, and appropriate consequences are applied. There are no exceptions.
Rewriting of Student Code of Conduct
During this school year, the Student Code of Conduct has been under review and is being rewritten to be more explicit in the areas of race. Superintendent Pero is meeting with students on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee in early May for their review and input on proposed changes. After their input has been received and proposed changes to the Codes of Conduct have been completed, the revised Code of Conduct will go to the Board of Education for review and approval.
Summer 2019 Professional Development
There will be several professional development workshops again this summer for teachers and staff on the topics of racism, hidden biases, inclusivity, diversity and school safety, and restorative practices. Among the workshops planned to date, some of the topics include “Advancing Racial Justice,” “Let’s Talk About Hate,” “Racism and Poverty,” “Hidden Biases,” and “Safe and Inclusive Schools.”
- Inclusivity Event on Racism on Thursday, May 2
Pittsford Musicals and Performance SpacePosted by Nancy Wayman on 6/5/2018
Date: June 5, 2018
Source of Inaccuracy: Website
Pittsford Musicals posted misleading information on its website that was then shared on various Facebook pages and with the local news media. The concerns that were publically posted were never conveyed to the Superintendent, nor sent to the Board of Education. At no point did either Board of Education or Superintendent share that Pittsford Musicals could not use PCSD facilities.
Instead, Pittsford Musicals chose to voice their dissatisfaction at a public Board of Education meeting. Meanwhile, PCSD staff members had been working with Pittsford Musicals for months trying to find a comfortable compromise that would allow the District to meet our student coursework obligations, functions, assemblies, plays, musicals, and host student-led extra-curricular events. In previous year’s when there was a concern, PM reached out and District administrators, including the Superintendent always found a compromise that worked for both parties. Again, this did not happen this year.
On May 16, 2018 PCSD offered its facilities in an email to Pittsford Musicals for a 17-day period in September 2018. This was an offer made in good faith and in advance of finalizing the 18-19 school calendar. As of today, we have not heard back from Pittsford Musicals about this proposal. Pittsford Musicals decided on their own to cancel this year’s fall production. Pittsford Musicals was a valued partner and PCSD is saddened that Pittsford Musicals’ actions have resulted in this cancelation.
Pittsford Musicals requires a dedicated auditorium facility over multiple weeks/weekends, during the school year, for rehearsals and construction of a set. While Pittsford Musicals is in our school, our students do not have access to the auditorium, its adjacent spaces, and other school events compete for parking spaces. As student programming continues to increase, the window of opportunity shortens for outside organizations to use the facilities, particularly for those groups that need facilities for a multiple week/weekend event. However, PCSD was still more than willing to work with Pittsford Musicals.
Finally, Pittsford Musicals has grown and evolved over the years into an organization whose membership is predominantly made up of non-Pittsford residents; yet up to now, PCSD has always ensured a space for their performances.
Staff Recruiting ProcessesPosted by Nancy Wayman on 5/17/2018
Date: May 17, 2018
Source of Inaccuracy: Facebook
By its very nature, the school district is a part of many posts and conversations on social media. PCSD avoids interfering with discussions and opinion-making on social media unless the content becomes a safety/privacy concern, the community becomes unsettled, inaccurate facts are shared, or there is a violation of policy or law. In the case of this Fact Checker post, the District would like to provide accurate information about its recruiting processes.
Having a highly qualified and diverse professional staff is important to PCSD. Nationally, school districts have been challenged with a 30-40% decline in the number of students enrolled in teacher preparatory programs over the past few years. Even before this decline, the number of students with diverse backgrounds entering these programs was a small percentage, exacerbating the challenge.
However, there are many ways in which PCSD continues to expand its recruiting practices to reach a wider, diverse and highly qualified applicant pool. Some examples of these efforts to attract a robust, qualified applicant pool include, but are not limited to:
- Attending national job fairs
- Attending local job fairs, including those sponsored by local colleges
- Participating in a local high school program called “Careers in Education” that is designed to share information about teaching and other education career opportunities with the goal of developing and recruiting local talent
- Ongoing professional development on diversity and inclusion through Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School and other programs
Our highly collaborative hiring process involves multiple stakeholder representatives who participate from the point of screening applicants through the interviewing and hiring processes. Community members regularly send PCSD recommendations for strong teacher or administrative candidates. We continue to encourage our stakeholders to refer interested candidates to the application found at this link: PCSD Job Application.
Please note, PCSD has no affiliation with the email@example.com email address listed in recent social media posts. We would like any candidate applying to PCSD to know that the District does not generally utilize outside recruiting services and would only use official email addresses with the @pittsford.monroe.edu extension.
Gmail accounts not used for Official PCSD BusinessPosted by Nancy Wayman on 5/16/2018
May 16, 2018
Source of Inaccuracy:
Job applicants: Please be aware that PCSD does not utilize Gmail accounts for official business. Candidates for employment opportunities at PCSD must apply using applications found here.
Youth Risk Behavior SurveyPosted by Nancy Wayman on 10/12/2017 4:00:00 PM
October 5-8, 2017
Source of Inaccuracies:
The correct name of the survey is the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), not National Student Risk Survey.
Is the YRBS a Monroe County survey? Where can parents see the survey questions?
PCSD participates through the Monroe County’s Department of Public Health, and uses a survey based upon a survey that was developed by the Center for Disease Control. The survey is available for parental review prior to implementation.
The survey is administered every two years. This means no survey will be administered during the 2017-2018 school year. The County's Department of Public Health and Monroe County school districts meet during the year of no survey to review the survey instrument and make adjustments as needed for our community.
What is the difference between the high school and middle school survey?
In Monroe County, only PCSD has fewer questions on the middle school survey because PCSD has chosen NOT to include the sexual activity questions in the middle school survey.
Why does PCSD participate in this survey when the majority of students do not report risk behaviors?
Identifying student behaviors and monitoring trends related to youth risk behaviors is important to the health and welfare of our students. The District collects this data to inform decisions related to services and supports and to provide information to students and families about ways to address the identified concerns.
Identifying risk behaviors that students participate in or have experienced is critical to guiding prevention and early intervention strategies and for monitoring trends. For example, monitoring alcohol consumption is important because underage drinking has many dangerous and unhealthy consequences, including vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries (such as burns, falls, and drowning), alcohol dependence, risky sexual activity and academic problems. Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are six times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years. Monitoring access to and use of drugs is critical to educating students and families about this increasingly serious issue in all communities in our area.
Identifying student mental health issues, (e.g., sadness, lack of concentration, thoughts of suicide) informs practices for counselors, psychologists and social workers.
Identifying the protective factors that students experience (e.g., having trusted adults in their lives, knowing who to talk to if they need assistance, etc.) helps the District and families understand those factors which help students to cope with concerns or issues they may have.
The District and families can celebrate the high percentage of students who report that they do not participate in risk behaviors and continue the efforts which support non-risky behaviors.
Are parents told in advance about this survey?
During the years the YRBS is offered, a letter is sent to parents from principals at each secondary school. The letter outlines the rationale for the survey, the types of questions, the opportunity to opt their child out of the survey, and the availability of the survey for parent review. Attached is a sample letter that was sent to families.
How does a parent indicate that a student is not to participate in the YRBS?
Should a parent choose not to have a child participate in the YRBS, the letter contains a form which can be completed and returned to the school to opt their child out of the survey.
Is it anonymous?
Yes. While students use District computers, they do not log in to the system so there are not identifiers linked to students.
How is the data used? Do the schools follow through on concerns?
There are many important ways that data is used:
- Development of programs and services to address needs
- Student education based upon results
- Informing parents and community of trends
- Health teachers utilizing data to promote positive normative behaviors through classroom and school wide activities
- School wide programs and activities targeting specific areas, levels
- Development of community partnerships to address identified areas