Abington School District - Digital Promise

Abington School District

Abington Schools superintendent Dr. Jeffrey S. Fecher visits a classroom

970 Highland Avenue
Abington, PA 19001

8,292

Number of Students

26%

Free and Reduced Lunch

85%

Students with Access to High Speed Broadband

100%

K-12 Students with Access to a Personal School-provided Device (1:1)

Learn from this district about:

Opportunities to Learn: Abington School District to serve all children well. An example of this commitment is the school district’s 2004 implementation of the Opportunity to Learn (OTL) Initiative. Through OTL, Abington School District made a dedicated effort to narrow achievement gaps by increasing the participation of minority students in the gifted program and honors and Advanced Placement classes, increasing the inclusion of special education students in the general education program, and increasing opportunities for student support and mentoring. Since its inception in 2004, OTL has opened up pathways to opportunity for many students who would have historically been placed in a tracked learning program. It was this program that we continued to refine this year throughout our participation in the Data Equity Cohort. By creating more objective course recommendation criteria for teachers, it had the effect of inviting more students to take advantage of the OTL initiative.

School-Based Youth Aid Panel: We have developed a school-based Youth Aid Panel, that mirrors the program that is currently operational within the county, however, the difference between our school based program and the county program is that ours will not come as a result of a contact with local law enforcement; our program will be a diversionary effort at the school level to reduce the number of students who have contact with law enforcement. Historically, we know that our students of color are more likely to have contact with law enforcement and end up in the juvenile justice system, therefore, by reducing the number of referrals to law enforcement at the school level, we will attempt to reduce the amount of racially and ethnically diverse juveniles who end up in the system. As a part of this project, we will offer local diversionary efforts like Peer Mediation, Youth Court, and Restorative Practices, all for the purposes of identifying root-causes of conflict and providing opportunities to resolve interpersonal disputes while providing real problem solving skills to those involved.

Racial Literacy Training: Racial literacy is defined as the ability to read, recast, and resolve racially stressful situations. Within our district, we have had a cohort of students and staff participate in training and workshop opportunities to gain the necessary skills to help their peers in our school community resolve racial stress. Annually, we utilized the Psychological Sense of School Membership scale to gather student perceptions of sense of belonging and historically, our data suggests that students of color report a lower sense of belonging than their white peers. Students have told us that we need to increase our ability to recognize and respond to racism and racial stressors in our schools. We have also conducted an internal equity review that indicates disparities in outcomes for black students in exclusionary disciplinary measures and academic access and achievement. Overall, we have learned that racial stress has contributed to these disparities. We partnered with the Lion’s Story Village to train a group of students and staff district-wide with racial literacy skills to serve as a resource for all students and staff in our school community. We have also included trainer certification for members of our staff so we can continue this program after the initial partnership concludes. Through this effort we hope to provide outlets for racial stress and help foster an environment where students and staff members of color feel a greater sense of belonging thus, advancing equity, access, and excellence for every student.


Dr. Jeffrey S. Fecher

Superintendent of Schools

District Work

Geographic Area

Suburban

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