Lynbrook UFSD’s Response to the National Conversation on Diversity
We agree that it is important for our schools to provide a strong foundation for students to succeed in our schools and as they continue their education outside of Lynbrook. In fact, over the last eight years, we have made significant strides in diversifying our curriculum. We have incorporated diversity in our literature selections beginning at the elementary level. Additionally, secondary students have a wide variety of diverse authors and themes from which to choose, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk “The Danger of a Single Story”, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park and several writings by Langston Hughes such as Harlem and The Negro Speaks of Rivers. We are also working to diversify our curriculum in other areas.
As the diversity of our student body has evolved, we have made concerted efforts to ensure our students and their families are provided with the appropriate tools and necessary resources to succeed within our schools. Following the unrest experienced in our nation after the death of George Floyd, our guidance department proactively sent home resources to our families. These resources were meant to assist our families with anti-racism conversations and help our young students understand the troubling events occurring in our country and around the world. Those resources, as well as contacts for our support staff, are available on our website.
As we have watched our televisions and read the newspapers, we’ve noted the importance of anti-racism and focusing on diversity, inclusion and equity in our schools. At our Board retreat in early July, we crafted our goals for the year with a specific focus on continuing to promote diversity, inclusion and equity for all. The objectives of this goal are part of our long-term plan for the districtwide Diversity Council. Each of our school buildings will establish a subcommittee of the Diversity Council and provide monthly updates, create additional cultural celebrations and monthly recognitions, and provide training to members of the administration to begin meaningful conversations on race. The district has also connected with the Anti-Racist Project, a group of volunteers who have dedicated themselves to facilitating meaningful conversations about racism and microaggressions exhibited by so many.
We are also committed to hiring a staff of educators who will continue to provide our students with a well-rounded education in a safe and inclusive environment. Dr. Berman, our assistant superintendent for personnel, transportation and student support services, currently serves in the Nassau BOCES Diversity Recruitment Program. As a member of this program, Dr. Berman helps candidates with resume writing and interview skills and has greater access to recruit candidates with a more diverse background.
Lynbrook, as many other towns, is a microcosm of today’s society. As much needs to evolve in society in general, we understand that the schools need to evolve as well. We are grateful for the voices uncovering and sharing their experiences. We are listening and will continue to research best practices and to develop our curriculum as it best suits the needs of our Lynbrook students.
Dr. Melissa Burak, Superintendent of Schools & The Lynbrook UFSD Board of Education