BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Central School District was recently awarded an A+ grade on Niche, an online source of reviews and rankings of national K-12 schools, universities, workplaces and neighborhoods.
Other rankings include:
-1st out of 28 Capital District school districts in terms of being the best and safest
-13th out of 692 most safest school districts in the state
-42nd out of 675 best state school districts
-58th out of 689 state school districts with the best teachers
-84th most safest school district in the country
“I think it’s great that we received that A+ grade and it’s always great to be recognized with having great students and a great community,” BCSD Superintendent Jody Monroe said.
“While it’s one rating and we certainly know there’s things we do well and things we need to improve on, it’s still nice to be recognized for our hard work.”
Within its overall A+ grade, BCSD has an average 12th-grader graduation rate of 93 percent.
BCSD also scored A+ in the categories for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, health and safety, food, and college prep; A for resources and facilities, and sports; and B+ for administration.
However, it scored a C in diversity.
Monroe noted that it does reflect on how the district does not have a lot of diversity concerning race and culture, saying that the majority of students are white.
According to Niche, 87 percent of students are white, 6.5 percent are Asian, 2.9 percent are Hispanic, 2.5 percent are African American, and the remaining 0.9 percent are multiracial.
Also, 49 percent of students are female while 51 percent are male.
“We obviously can’t control who’s living the district but it’s still always great to have diversity, which is a topic addressed in our recent school climate survey,” she said. “Our obligation is to use more diverse instruction materials so that our students are aware of how diverse the outside world is after they leave our doors.”
She further brought up that BCSD has an Equity Committee — this was created last year and comprises of around 30 staff members, including teachers, supervisors and administrators — which aims to teach other staff and students about being aware that each person has their own unconscious biases, regardless of background, gender, and other socioeconomic factors.
“It’s important to be aware that we all have our own biases at least. For example, when hiring people, you may lean towards people who are more like you but you should also have an open mindset,” she said. “It shows how bias impacts your decision-making and then we bring such topics in class for the students.”
Recognizing the Equity Committee as one way the district is addressing the topic of diversity, Monroe expressed gratitude to the local community and parents for supporting the district and the students. “Students come in and work hard, and we’re very fortunate for that and for the support we do have,” she said. “I’d like to thank them and also our staff for all the hard work.”
For a comprehensive list of rankings for BCSD, visit www.niche.com/k12/d/bethlehem-central-school-district-ny/.