A Message from Superintendent Pero: Inclusivity and our Core Values
The Pittsford Central School District is a place where we believe everyone should feel welcomed and supported. In fact, we think that is so important that it’s one of our five Core Values:
- Supportive environment for students, staff, families and community
- Continuous improvement
There are many practical and subtle ways to provide this experience. One way is by affording students the opportunity to interact with diverse people, diverse ideas, and multiple perspectives. This not only makes everyone feel like they belong no matter who they are, it also develops the skills and competencies necessary to understand and thrive in a diverse, global society. For example, we are currently assessing the level of diversity in our library book collection, as well as a way to effectively increase diversity in a culturally sensitive manner.
Beyond the curricular aspect, student programs are the next best way to reach out to our students. These programs, along with the District- and building-level initiatives, support the development of an engaging and respectful environment to which students feel connected.
Our students and staff are embracing this concept and continue to expand and strengthen it through dialogue, community service, and awareness through these types of opportunities:
- ROC2Change – Students in Monroe County are working together to address race relations in their community.
- Best Buddies – Best Buddies is a club that matches general education students with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in order to create one-to-one friendships and foster inclusion.
- Sources of Strength – Sources of Strength is an evidence based program designed to promote a positive climate and normalize help-seeking behavior.
- Diversity Clubs –Diversity Clubs create a safe space for students and staff to educate one another and speak openly and honestly about issues including, but not limited to, discrimination, racism, tolerance, plurality, religion, special needs, gender and bias.
- English Language Learners’ Family Welcome Events – Families of students who are English language learners have the opportunity to meet each other and learn about some of the resources available to them in the PCSD schools and community.
Each school is developing and implementing plans and strategies for teaching, supporting, and promoting pro-social behaviors. These activities and programs help to create a caring environment where ideas, backgrounds and new perspectives are encouraged in order to add to the strength of our community.
Additionally, we continue to expand and deepen our professional development offerings. Below is a sampling of training offerings:
- Hidden Biases of Good People
- Cultural Humanity (Gandhi Institute)
- Systems and Institutions that Keep Rochester Divided (Rochester Chamber of Commerce)
- Teaching English Language Learners in the Content Classroom
- Restorative Practices
- Poverty: What traps people in it and how to help your students through it
- Mental Health Issues in School: Anxiety and Depression
Professional development in these various areas is extended beyond teachers to other employee groups including office personnel, lunch and recess monitors, bus drivers, and bus attendants.
These curricular offerings, programs, professional development and initiatives are all part of the continuous improvement the District embodies. The goal is to encourage school community engagement, respect, connection, diverse ideas, backgrounds and perspectives that are tied together in a caring environment.