Getting to “One Carmel”

More than 30 parents, students, teachers and administrators came to the Unity in Our Community event at Carmel High School on Wednesday, Oct. 25, to discuss ways to end divisions within the schools and bring Carmel Central School District residents together as “One Carmel.”  

“Clearly, we are in a place where we are ripe for change,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Joseph McGrath said. “Just coming together like this makes our community stronger. Now, it is up to us to convert ideas into a strategic action plan.”  

Led by Matt Latimer, the lead conciliation specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, the event featured discussions about Carmel’s progress over the past few months.    

Latimer had moderated the district’s four Dialogue on Race events held In April and May of 2023, in which participants produced ideas to support unity in the community. Many of those ideas, such as hiring staff to reflect Carmel’s diverse student body and expanding the curriculum to include diverse viewpoints, have been incorporated into the District Strategic Plan.  

“I know you have worked hard, and you have achieved a lot,” Latimer said. “But there is more to do.” 

The participants broke into three groups: one that looked at curriculum and instruction; another that looked at the culture of the schools; and a third that created a profile of the Carmel graduate and brainstormed ideas for a 7thC to add to Carmel’s existing graduate profile of 6C’s -- Critical Thinking, Citizenship, Compassion, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication.  

“I am glad the district is holding meetings like this,” said Ivon Silva, a parent. “My own children are almost done with school. I came to this meeting because I want to see things improve for the next group of kids.”   

A second Unity in the Community event will be held Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Carmel High School Gym. That event, which is open to the public, will focus on exploring the symbols of language and hate.