Equity at Niskayuna

What is equity?

Equity is our commitment to ensuring that all students are able to fully access educational experiences and services in our schools – and eliminating necessary barriers to achieving this. Equity is doing everything it takes to ensure that all students feel valued, safe, and welcome. Equity is about building authentic relationships with students and families and embracing the unique perspectives and contributions of all in our community.

Headshot of Latisha BarnettLatisha J. Barnett, Chief Equity Officer

Latisha J. Barnett became the district’s Chief Equity Officer in July 2019.

Barnett came to the district from Skidmore College, where she has served as the director of student diversity programs since 2016. She also worked as the director of student life and the assistant director of multicultural affairs at The College of Saint Rose.

She has a master’s in education from The College of St. Rose and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from SUNY Fredonia.

Latisha will work collaboratively with stakeholders to implement best practices related to diversity, equity and inclusion, including in the areas of professional development and staff recruitment and retention. Latisha will be a valuable resource for students, families and staff in this area that is an important part of our strategic plan.

Environment and Culture Advisory Council

The Environment & Culture Advisory Committee (ECAC) was established by the Superintendent of Schools in the spring of 2016 to bring together a cross-section of the school community to examine, and ultimately develop an action plan to address, a variety of factors related to school culture and the well-being of students. Current areas of focus are: Diversity, Mental Health and Wellness, and Events. Learn more about the Environment and Culture Advisory Council

Diversity Goals

The Environment and Culture Advisory Council developed District Diversity Goals in the Fall of 2016 that were adopted by the Board of Education. They state, “The Niskayuna Central School District is committed to promoting the principles of inclusion and diversity as integral to the education of all students. In keeping with our district’s mission statement, our community believes in empowering each and every individual through education to better embrace socioeconomic, cultural, racial, gender, ability, ethnic, sexual and religious diversity. We are committed to developing a safe and healthy environment where each student’s self-esteem is nurtured to achieve responsible and compassionate citizenship.” View the full District Diversity Goals

Generation Ready Equity Institute

District administrators and sixteen teachers – two from each school – are participating in Generation Ready’s Equity Institute over the course of the 2018-19 school year. This is eight full days of training designed to facilitate professional learning g around developing culturally proficient instructional practices and policies and creating a school and community system that advocates for equity for all.

No Place for Hate

Since 2016-17, Niskayuna Schools have received the No Place for Hate designation through the Anti-Defamation League. This program recognizes schools that have implemented a broad-based approach to combating bias and bullying and promoting a culture of respect.