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Rush-Henrietta Response to D&C Story

The local newspaper published a story online (December 14, 2018)  that focuses on issues of equality in suburban Monroe County schools. Specifically, districts were asked for perspective regarding data about Advanced Placement enrollment and out-of-school suspension rates for white students and black students. The story then became far broader.
A Rush-Henrietta student was quoted in the story. She shared an experience that occurred last year during a classroom discussion about the use of specific words in everyday conversation. As an example, the use of the N-word was discussed. When school administrators learned about this on Tuesday and reached out to the student, she explained she was not comfortable with the teacher using the word to illustrate the point. We let the student know we had an obligation to look into her claim, and we did so this week.
We understand the perspectives provided by both the teacher and the student. Engaging in dialogue about these kinds of challenging issues is important. Each day, teachers work with our students on how to engage in reasoned, informed debates on controversial issues in our society. At the same time, we need to be mindful of the feelings these conversations may stir and respond appropriately when that occurs. We will continue to have these important conversations with our students, and be more aware of the feelings these well-intended discussions may elicit.
Rush-Henrietta is a wonderfully diverse community, with students from all corners of the world attending our schools. We have made tremendous strides in recent years in creating a caring and welcoming atmosphere, and in helping students of all backgrounds achieve. We are proud that the New York State Education Department recognized our Senior High School as a High Performing Reward School for a second consecutive year in 2018. This honor acknowledges outstanding student achievement and our significant progress in closing gaps in student achievement among subgroups.
In addition, within the past year, the local newspaper unveiled a list of best public school districts in Monroe County that took into account “non-academic factors that parents say they value, but can be hard to measure.” We like to refer to this as a measure of school climate. The rankings were based on data regarding class sizes, diversity, suspension rates, attendance rates, and teacher experience, among other factors. Rush-Henrietta ranked as the No. 1 school district in all of Monroe County.
The Rush-Henrietta Central School District is a great place to learn and work. We’re not perfect, of course - no school district is. As we strive to be better, we encourage students, parents, and staff members to speak up if they see an issue that needs to be addressed. We will do our best to make it right.
Here is our comprehensive reply to the original stated purpose of the newspaper inquiry. It contains A LOT of good news about the work that is being done in our schools. We encourage you to read it all.
Thank you for your continued support.