North Colonie Central School District started the new school year on Sept. 4 with a staff assembly at Shaker High School. Superintendent Joseph Corr and Board of Education President Linda Harrison offered opening remarks to a packed auditorium. The message: Relationships matter.
Harrison touched on the significant role educators play in the lives of their students.
“The Board is grateful for the values of community-mindedness, integrity, civility and tolerance that you model in your daily interactions with our students,” said Harrison. “We celebrate you for the noble work you do each day and for upholding a culture of high expectations. We celebrate you for all that you do to encourage, motivate and reassure your students on their journey through North Colonie.”
Corr emphasized two words embedded in the district’s mission statement: “all” and “equity.”
“At North Colonie, ‘All means all.’ We should be rightfully proud of the fact that we consistently achieve at the top of all districts in the area and in the state,” said Corr.
However, he added, it’s important that the district is aware of the achievement gap that exists for students of color, in poverty, with special needs, whose language is other than English, or who otherwise feels disenfranchised or disengaged from school.
“We must realize that achieving an equity education is our imperative,” he said.
He noted that “equity” doesn’t mean “equal.” “It does not mean giving all students the same. It does mean giving each and every child what they need to succeed. That may mean differences for some and more for some in order to achieve this truly equitable education.”
Corr noted that now more than ever relationships and rigor matter.
“Relationships provide the foundation for truly knowing our students: their interests, their strengths, their areas of growth, their families, their struggles,” said Corr. “Relationships are key to understanding our students, and I am proud to work in a community of educators who value them and work diligently each and every day to grow and sustain them.”
Rigor, he said, recognizes that students are capable individuals. “It honors the fact that students can achieve more and deserve the right to do so.”
To close out the program, Corr welcomed chorus students representing each of the district’s schools. Under the direction of Shaker High School choral director Amy Kimbler, the students sang “Connected” by Brian Tate. The uplifting performance drew a rousing cheer and standing ovation from staff, teachers and administrators.
The first day of classes for students at North Colonie schools is Thursday, Sept. 6.