The Port Washington Board of Education reviewed the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan after its first year and the plans as they go into year two during its meeting Tuesday night.
In March 2021, the district partnered with NYU to develop a plan to promote diversity in the school district.
Culturally responsive education is intended to provide a welcoming and affirming environment, high expectations and a rigorous curriculum, ongoing professional learning and support, and inclusive curriculum and assessment, according to the district’s presentation.
The presentation included demographic data about the district.
The Port Washington School District is comprised of 66% white students, 22% Hispanic students, 11% Asian students and 1% black students.
In the presentation, the district shared that its historical data has shown uneven participation in school programs, high school outcomes and suspension rates in secondary schools.
PEP, the district’s gifted student program, is 82% white students and 21% Asian students. This is disproportionate to the percentage of both ethnic groups in the district.
The district also found that black students have the lowest graduation rate of 80%, followed by Hispanic students graduating at 86%. White students and Asian students graduate at rates of 98% and 97%, respectively.
To address the issues of equity, the district has presented a five-year strategic plan to support equity work for the district.
Seven committees have been working to execute the goals of the five-year plan, starting with actions such as collecting data, creating and launching parent questionnaires and reviewing the district’s systems of support.
Some things the committees have learned in their pursuits are that the district needs to strengthen connections with community partners to assist with outreach attempts and some faculty and staff are unaware of the extent of resources available to students.
Going into year two, the district will be implementing a new structure in which every school has an equity team that is connected to the district’s equity team, which will all work together to advance equity initiatives.
The board also presented the results of its Panorama Survey, a series of surveys regarding the district’s climate.
Families, students and staff were asked questions regarding the school’s climate, school safety and grit.
The Panorama Survey provides a scale to measure the response rates using percentiles. It categorizes the top two percentile categories, the 60th-79th percentile and the 80th-99th percentile, as the desired results.
The survey found that the grades 3-5 students provided strong response rates, polling for school belonging, school climate, school rigorous expectations, school safety and school teacher-student relationships in those top two percentile ranges.
These elementary students surveyed the lowest for grit, falling in the 40th-59th percentile.
Port Washington grades 6-12 surveyed much lower than their younger counterparts, scoring in the lowest percentile of 0-19th percentile in four categories.
The two higher surveyed sections were for grit in the 20th-39th percentile and school safety in the 60th-79th percentile.
The results of secondary students have increased since the last survey was conducted in 2022.
Nearly all district-wide results improved from the prior year, excluding school safety which only stayed the same in the elementary schools and decreased in secondary schools, and school belonging which stayed the same in the secondary schools.
The board of education’s final meeting of the school year started with a performance by the Daly Elementary School band, followed by recognitions of the co-presidents of the district’s Home and School Associations and Schreiber High School student Mikayla Schwartz for an award from the International Science and Engineering Fair.
“I want to take a moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to our staff for an incredible year,” board President Adam Smith said. “You’re hard work, dedication and unwavering commitment to education have made this year an incredible success for our students and our district”