A School District that Fights for Equal Rights

The power of a collective mindset at the local level

by Dr. Rod Berger

Larry Spring, Superintendent of Schenectady City School District, works hard to ensure that race, economics or disabilities are never indicators of student achievement in his district. To accomplish this, he uses data to uncover inequities that can inform his policy and procedure decisions that will increase the chances that every student can succeed. Under his leadership, student achievement and attendance rates have improved significantly. In 2016, the graduation rate of Schenectady High School was the highest it has been in over a decade.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Larry at the 2017 AASA conference held in New Orleans and touched on a variety of subjects including the evolution in attitudes of superintendents communicating with their peers. The old position of independent decision-making has given way to a collective sharing of ideas and the belief that a collaborative group effort is stronger than the individual.

Extensive communication with the community as a whole about district needs and goals is a top priority for Larry. It's a two-way conversation between parent stakeholders and district leadership to ensure that top issues are being addressed with the best interest of the community in mind.

Larry is willing to fight to make sure all students have the best tools and opportunities possible to prepare for life. In fact, his district filed a case against the state of New York, claiming that the way the state distributes education funding is racially biased. The result was the first time the Office of Civil Rights had opened such an investigation. It was a collaborative effort brought on by school leadership and the community, demonstrating the power of a collective mindset at the local level.

illustration of hands helping

About Larry Spring

Laurence T. Spring is Superintendent of the Schenectady City School District, a K-12 public system that educates nearly 10,000 children.

Prior to coming to Schenectady in June 2012, Mr. Spring served as superintendent of the Cortland Enlarged City School District for six years, an assistant superintendent for instruction at Wayne Central School District in Ontario, NY for five years, director of student learning at Churchville-Chili Central School District for two years and was an assistant principal for a year. He spent the first five years of his educational career teaching social studies at East Irondequoit Central School District.

Mr. Spring earned a B.A. in History/Psychology from SUNY Geneseo, M.S. in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester. He is pursuing a doctoral degree from Vanderbilt University.

Follow Larry Spring on Twitter.

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