Williamsville Central School District

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Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity in Our Schools

Background

In 1986, a task force on cultural diversity was formed in the Williamsville Central School District to study the degree to which students were learning about different religious and cultural groups. The task force recommended that the PACER (Planning Advancement of Curriculum and Educational Research) Committee be instrumental in initiating multicultural programs, such as: staff development for teachers, a multicultural resource booklet, and a kindergarten through grade twelve Infusion of Multicultural Curriculum.

As a natural outgrowth of these activities, and recognizing an increasingly diverse population, on November 5, 1991 the Williamsville Board of Education authorized a Committee on Religion to study the district’s philosophy and practice on multicultural and religious issues.

The 22-member Committee on Cultural Diversity and Religion, with Board of Education, school, and community representation, made content recommendations to the Board of Education in June 1992. A subcommittee then developed the recommendations into a policy format.

The Board of Education reviewed the draft at public meetings, received input and made revisions. They adopted the policy on March 9, 1993. This was followed by the development of regulations by district administrators. The policy sets the broad parameters of an issue while the regulations are specific administrative guidelines for implementing the policy.

The four main areas addressed in the policy include: school activities related to religious holidays or themes, use of religious symbols, music in the schools, and the district calendar. Instruction and activities in each of these areas are guided by four basic questions:

  • Is it Constitutionally permissible?
  • Is it educationally sound?
  • Is it culturally sensitive? and
  • Is it age appropriate?   
The purpose of the Policy on Cultural Diversity and Religion in the school district is to foster the development of knowledge, understanding, and respect for the various cultural and religious groups in and outside of our community. We hope to create an environment where students of various cultural and religious backgrounds feel comfortable and accepted in our schools.

Related Policy: #8360