Data analyzed from the U.S. Department of Education has the Utica City School District ranked as the #1 diversified district in Upstate New York. Utica School District Superintendent Bruce Karam tells us the Utica Schools continue to grow and believes the refugee population is adding to the diversification.
"This is one of the 4 major relocation centers for refugees coming in from other countries, so by that in and of itself, we see a very diversified group of people coming in every year. So that’s why I believe our numbers are continually growing."
Jami Racioppa Chairs the Guidance Department at Proctor High School. She tells us how the Utica Schools deal with such a wide range of people.
"We celebrate their own home cultures because we encourage our kids to hang on to their home language and become bi-lingual. We encourage our students to hang on to their own cultures, their own traditions, in addition to celebrating more Americanized traditions."
Diversity comes at a cost. The district has to employ academic coaches, translation services, specialized books, and parent education staff. Bruce Karam says it’s all part of making sure every student is prepared for the future.
"It’s a good thing for kids to experience when their growing up because it’ll not only help them while they’re growing up, and while their getting educated, but also when they reach adulthood in the workplace, and that is going to be a diversified situation too, and they’ll be prepared for that."
The data analyzed in the study also used race, gender, and income as considerations in their rankings. Utica ranked 13th Statewide.