- Budget Information
- Business Office
- General Information
- Human Resources
- Information Systems
- Policy Manual
- School Committee
- Teaching and Learning
- English Language Learning
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
- School Year Calendar
- Section 504
- Special Education
- Summer School
- Contact Us
Students Who Attend MSAN Conference Hope to Spark Change
Submitted by kochn on Wed, 10/24/2012 - 3:39pm.
From Wednesday October 3rd to Saturday October 6th, ten ARHS students joined by staff members Ms. Abbott and Ms. Custard, attended the MSAN Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
MSAN, the Minority Student Achievement Network, is a national coalition of roughly twenty-five multicultural, suburban and urban school districts. MSAN’s goal is to study and eliminate achievement gaps that exist in school districts across the country.
With the first conference held in 2000, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district was one of the founders of the organization. A group of eight superintendents (one of which was Gus Sayer, the former Amherst superintendent of schools) from suburban college towns united to look for reasons of the continuing achievement gap between students of color, specifically African-American and Latino students, and the rest of their pupils.
The newly founded MSAN worked with well-known researchers such as Gloria Ladson-Billings, Glenn Singleton, and Ronald Ferguson to form the network to research, identify, and eliminate achievement gaps in education in the U.S.
MSAN’s governing board, comprised of representatives from each district in the organization, continues to set the agenda for research and development. Currently, the four areas of focus that are used to help shape the agenda are Mathematics, Literacy (with an emphasis on Adolescent Literacy), Student/Teacher Relationships, and Conversations about Race and Relationship.
While the MSAN conferences are mainly built on team work sessions and team development for the member districts, this year a highlight was speaker Calvin Terrell. Terrell speaks and leads workshops based on valuing diversity, equity, and justice in schools, corporations, and civic organizations across the country.
At MSAN, Terrell was more than just a speaker. “He had people thinking about their own prejudices,” said Ms. Custard. “He knows how to move people, and how to get work done.”
Many of the ARHS students that attended the conference also found that listening to Terrell was a moving experience. “We all need to be more aware of our prejudices,” stated Camila Carpio. Carpio recognized too that the conference had helped to widen her perspective. “[It was great] to learn about other people’s experiences in other schools.”
Eric Gooden mentioned that the conference was “really interesting, fun, and eye-opening. You get to meet lots of people who are similar to you, but different in so many ways.” Gooden expressed that the conference had inspired him to set a good example for other minority students, and that he wants to be a role model who can be looked up to.
Although this year’s conference was a great experience for those who attended, the ARHS students and staff who were involved hope to expand on the progress that was made. Next year the conference will be hosted by ARHS, and the MSAN members are working on bringing Calvin Terrell to ARHS and into our community for an entire week of workshops.
The next step is for the students to help expand the influence of MSAN beyond the conferences and into the community. “As it continues to grow, we have to look at our own progress. What has happened?” asked Ms. Custard. “How is it changing their school experience?”
Whatever the future holds for MSAN and the achievement gap, one thing is certain: the ARHS MSAN team will be up for the challenge.
Last updated October 30, 2012