Mattituck-Cutchogue mission statement work to be highlighted at Stony Brook conference

Mattituck-Cutchogue school administrators will deliver the opening address at this year’s Council for Prejudice Reduction annual conference at Stony Brook University on Nov. 9.

The district has been chosen to discuss its work on developing a new mission statement with council executive director Roberta Richin, who gave a presentation on the project at the Sept. 15 Mattituck school board meeting.

“The school district has been very forward-thinking and forward-acting in shaping its new mission statement,” Ms. Richin said in an interview last week. “They’ve created a nice flow between continuity and change.”

Ms. Richin said she plans to spend this school year working with district representatives and students to help implement the mission statement’s charge of preparing students to live in a global society.

“My role is to engage all the stakeholders, to look at ‘what does a world class community with the best of small town culture do every day?’ ” she said. “How do we build a culture of caring for your neighbor and being proud of your town? How do we help young people navigate a very diverse world and still hold on to who they are?”

Ms. Richin said she’s working with Mattituck students this year on discussing how everyday assumptions can create conflicts with people from different cultures.

“We look at very specific, small exchanges, very much the way you would do in a family,” she said.

She acknowledged that students will make mistakes when learning to communicate with people from different cultures. But as long as they communicate in good faith, she added, those mistakes will be good learning opportunities.

“We use core values like responsibility, optimism and impulse control” when talking about communicating with people from other cultures, Ms. Richin said. “I like to think of it in terms of the analogy of kids coming off the sports field that is the school day. Every kid should have a messy uniform. Every kid should participate in some way. It’s about how are you an upstander instead of a bystander.”

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