Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
As a district, we strive to teach students how to make informed decisions through critical thinking and reflection and the study of historical and current events. Please see the frequently asked questions below for more information about what is and is not included in our lessons.
What is Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education (CR-S)?
Culturally responsive-sustaining (CR-S) education is an approach that emphasizes using cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for all students. (CR-S) education is grounded in a cultural view of learning and human development in which multiple expressions of diversity (e.g., race/ethnicity, social class, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, ability/disability) are recognized and regarded as assets for teaching and learning.
For years, our curriculum has been rooted in the New York State Standards – and it will continue to be. The Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education (CR-S) Framework brings together the New York State Learning Standards, the NYS Framework for Social Studies, the Social Emotional Learning Framework, and the Social Justice Standards, particularly identity and diversity. In education, we often feel like we have too many initiatives. CR-S is all-encompassing and is not another initiative but rather a framework for educators to use as they develop curriculum and lessons to ensure the culture of our students is being incorporated within.
Will DEI be incorporated in the curriculum?
As a District, we value Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The focus of DEI is to ensure all students have the access and opportunity to receive an equitable education and are provided the resources they need for their success.
Diversity: Includes but is not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles.
Equity: The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of all groups.
Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/ policy making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.
What is Educational Equity?
Educational equity is a K-12 term referring to federal and state policies and requirements. Specifically, the term is closely associated with "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) legislation that was led by former President George W. Bush and signed into law in 2002. This federal law established clear requirements for school districts to disaggregate student achievement data by race and close achievement gaps where they existed.
In recent years, the terms Equity work or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become commonplace in K-12 education. Many districts revisit and renew their local efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). When signed into law in 2015, ESSA further advanced equity in U.S. education policy by upholding protections outlined in NCLB, including calling for comprehensive state-developed plans designed to close achievement gaps, improve the quality of instruction, and increase outcomes for all students.
What Is Critical Race Theory?
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a phrase that is frequently mentioned in the media and public conversations. CRT might have a specific meaning to one person, while others might believe it is entirely different. But the most basic purpose of Critical Race Theory, which originated in the 1970s, was an analytical tool for law students to examine the impact of historical and present-day racism on the legal system and public policies. Currently, CRT is primarily used by higher education in the study of law, psychology, and sociology.
Is Critical Race Theory in the New York State Learning Standards?
Penn Yan CSD is not teaching Critical Race Theory. Our curriculum is based on the New York State Standards, and Critical Race Theory is not part of the standards or our curriculum. The tenets of CRT are not part of social studies or any other learning standards in New York. The state's Social Studies Standards can be found on the New York State Department of Education’s website K-12 Social Studies Framework. The work we are focused on in the District will be aimed at strengthening equity and inclusive practices. We want all students to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to our schools.
What about antiracism? Is that being taught in our schools?
Racism has no place in any school building in our community. Every district is seeking to create an environment that supports every single student, and yes, challenges racism wherever it exists. This is one way we will teach our children – the future leaders of our communities – that until something is faced, it cannot be overcome.
We will be developing our own culturally responsive lessons based on the CR-S Framework below to ensure K-12 integration and implementation into our curriculum. The scope and delivery of these lessons will differ significantly by building so they are developmentally appropriate for our students. I encourage you to review this framework to gain a better understanding of the goals of engaging students in learning within these topics. The briefs offer the main concepts in a series of short reads, while the Framework link is to the entire 64-page document.
- NYSED - CR-S Framework Briefs - The purpose of the briefs is to highlight the important concepts of the CR-S Framework as an introduction for educators, administrators, parents/caregivers, community members and students.
- NYSED - Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework
As a community, we have an incredible responsibility to embrace and demonstrate respect for the safety, well-being and inclusion of all social identity groups (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, socioeconomic background, religion) that we serve at Penn Yan Central School District.
What if I have concerns about what I am hearing from my child about what is going on in the classroom?
We appreciate your interest in your child’s education, and parent engagement is an essential priority for each district. If you do have questions, we recommend starting as close to the source as possible – your child’s teacher. This will allow you to better understand what is happening in the classroom. If you still have concerns, your next step would be to contact the building principal, who can help you understand any next steps. If you have concerns about the Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education Framework or other state-provided resources, you can reach out to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at firstname.lastname@example.org.