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RCSD Community Update: 4/23/21

April 23, 2021

Dear RCSD Community,

On April 12, the NYSED Board of Regents (the governing board of NYS schools), launched an initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across all NYS schools. They created a draft framework of guidance for all schools to work towards called The NYS Board of Regents Framework on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in New York. The guidance recognizes that there is no single answer that will solve society’s pervasive problems. It further explains that NYSED and NYS Schools will be part of a holistic and inclusive solution to racism and bigotry. With an expectation and charge that local school districts will begin the important work of creating sustainable change that will create learning communities that are more diverse, equitable and inclusive, this is the strongest challenge yet that the Board of Regents has given to schools. 

In Rye, as is the case across the country, we are not immune from the ills of hate and exclusion. As your Superintendent, I recognize that the school system must change to better support the needs of all students. I recognize that this is not an easy task and that there is no simple solution; for some, the work will be too slow while for others the work will be too fast. Our challenge is to come together and recognize that change is necessary and must happen for the sake of our children. 

The current climate of political and social discourse in our country is polarizing and inflexible. If we do not make an effort to move away from those distant, intransigent positions and begin a respectful and productive discourse, then our schools and community will suffer. Making our schools more inclusive and supportive for all students is not a political argument. It is the right thing to do and we must do the hard work for the sake of our children. 

I urge you to read the draft framework and learn about the task ahead. I assure you that it will be time well spent. I am committed to the work ahead understanding that I have much to learn and will trip and fall along the way, but I will get back up and continue onward. I accept my role in this important work and I urge you to consider your role and how you can be a part of a respectful, collaborative process of change where the perspectives of all are heard.

NYS Testing

New York State testing in ELA for grades 3-8 took place on Monday. Math testing for the same grades will take place on Monday, May 4. Science for grades 4 and 8 will follow on June 7. Approximately 23% of our families in grades 3-8 have opted in to have their students take the state tests this year. AP exams for high school students also begin on May 4 and are administered throughout the month. Regents exams take place in the last two weeks of June. We will be providing further details regarding Regents exams in the coming weeks.

Heard In Rye Videos

On April 15, Heard in Rye hosted bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims who spoke about the dangers of helicopter parenting and offered practical strategies for fostering hearty self-reliance instead of hollow self-esteem. Both talks were excellent, and the videos are now posted on the Heard in Rye site: https://www.heardinrye.org/videos. Ms. Lythcott-Haims spent a decade as the Dean of Freshman and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford University, is the parent of two teens, and has written and spoken widely on the phenomenon of helicopter parenting.

Case Update

Since my last community update on April 16, the District has had six new cases: four at Rye High School and two at Midland School. Two of the cases resulted in school-related quarantines. We still have not seen an instance of COVID transmission within one of our schools. 

 

Enjoy the weekend.

Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools