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Recently the Arkport Central School District asked the community to review and comment on the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policy. By providing feedback and perspective, the key stakeholders of the school community – students, teachers, staff, parents and residents – are assisting the district in strengthening the policy while also collaborating towards the shared goal of success for all students.

In this vein, it’s important for the community to be familiar with DEI in action; how Arkport CSD is carrying out its commitment to DEI in everyday ways. Here are a few examples of how Arkport teachers are incorporating DEI into their lessons. For more examples, visit the district website.

Following are a few examples of how Arkport teachers are incorporating DEI into their lessons. For more examples, visit the district website

Earlier this school year, several teachers tasked their students to learn more about the achievements and history of African Americans in honor of Black History Month. In Sophia Kleopoulos’ fifth grade class, each student selected an inspirational Black American to learn about their contributions to society. Once the research was complete, students chose a memorable quote attributed to their selected individual and two words that best describe that person’s personality. In addition, each student bestowed an “award,” which could be real or invented, upon their inspirational person. After creating customizable pennants, which were visual representations of what they had learned, every student gave a presentation to their peers. 

The presentation portion of the assignment gave students the opportunity to ask questions, which sparked thought-provoking discussions. Because the inspirational subjects ranged from inventors to athletes, the students pondered how life would be different if not for the impact of these people. Conversation also centered on the importance of celebrating Black History Month. 

Jesse Kernan, another Arkport elementary teacher, assigned a similar project, however with a slightly different approach.

His class created an extensive list of all of the well-known Black Americans they could think of. Once completed, Mr. Kernan informed the class that those on the list were ineligible to be the subject of their biography projects. 

Students then delved further and did extensive research to discover Black Americans who may not be as well-known but who have made significant contributions to society. Going beyond the more commonly known Jackie Robinson or Rosa Parks, Mr. Kernan’s class discovered the impact made by such people as Katherine Johnson, Mae Jemison, and Wendell Scott.

Both assignments encouraged student choice and creativity, developed research and informational writing skills while also recognizing the role of African Americans in U.S. history.

To learn more about the Arkport CSD’s DEI philosophy and the DEI committee, click here.