COVID-19 UPDATE FROM SUPERINTENDENT MCGARRITY 4-29
Dear Orchard Park Families,
I am writing to publicly share my support for all of our teachers, but in particular Orchard Park High School English teacher, Mrs. Kristen Farrell, who has been the subject of social media posts made by an individual regarding instruction and dialogue centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion with students in the context of the study of literature.
I have spoken at length with Mrs. Farrell and the High School administration regarding the important context and connection to a literary theme of study. Mrs. Farrell is helping her students to grow as critical thinkers, to wrestle with complex issues, and to have an understanding of current events as a comparison to the context and era of the literature being studied. I fully support her and the work of all of our dedicated teachers who are working to engage our students in this important topic.
They are outstanding professionals who truly care about children. They are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandparents, sisters and brothers in our community and not just a teacher working to further their students as life-long learners. They have dedicated their careers to this work.
Furthermore, as a district, we support this complex and important work that aligns with expectations from the New York State Department of Education. This information was shared late last week with all families, and I have included our Board of Education goal below for your reference.
OPCSD Board of Education goal:
Support the District's commitment to increasing awareness about diversity, equity, and inclusion to promote cultural competence in a positive learning community.
As shared in earlier communications to the district, we acknowledge that this is complicated and challenging work. These are difficult conversations to engage in, but we believe that one of the most important roles public education holds is to give a voice to our marginalized students who may not always have had their voice heard or represented, intentionally or unintentionally. We will continue to provide necessary guidance and training for our educators as they work to improve the lives of all of our students.
Superintendent of Schools