A message from Principal van Harssel

A message from Principal van Harssel
Posted on 10/22/2021
Principal updateOur high school administration, faculty members, parents and students have been working through an unacceptable student action following an incident that occurred after hours between two students, one of which was off campus earlier this week. After a successful student discussion and restorative sessions earlier this week, I invited students from the high school to meet with me at a principal’s forum during lunch Friday, October 22, 2021 to share their thoughts and concerns that resulted from the incident. As more students gathered than could fit in the space designated for this forum, the discussion was moved to the auditorium to ensure student safety.

In response to this event, the high school has partnered with families involved to ensure their inclusion as we addressed the situation. Integral student leaders within our district, including members of the Diversity Ambassadors program and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will be engaging to discuss the ongoing Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education work. Additionally, the district has invited our partners from Urban Suburban to join the ongoing discussions that are taking place in East Rochester. The administration is also continuing unrelated investigations into recent allegations that have been brought forward during our work today.

The East Rochester School District does not accept incidents of racism, harassment, violence or any other form of unacceptable behavior or language. The district has a long standing commitment to our initiatives of cultural responsiveness and restorative practices. Examples of these initiatives include engaging in an ongoing curriculum review that is focused on adapting to meet the demands of learning standards and ensure educational equity and access for all students. We are guided by the question, to what extent does our curriculum prepare students and teachers to respond to events that take place in our global community? The district is continuously working to integrate The Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework into our curriculum, specifically embeds the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion into student-centered learning environments. It is our hope that students will see themselves within the instructional materials used to support our curriculum and teachers feel supported in their attempts to connect and build relationships with all students.