We speak with Dan Callahan, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education in Peekskill City School District, 45 minutes north of Manhattan. The low-income district in wealthy Westchester is 70% Latino, including many students from immigrant families. We discuss how the district has adapted to rapid demographic changes and schools’ role in helping students meet challenges. Mr. Callahan reflects on the decisions he and his staff make that impact students’ lives in very concrete ways, and the tension between consistency, applying the same rules for all students, and specificity, looking at the totality of circumstances in each individual case.  


00:00-00:36 Intros

00:36-02:31 Peekskill and its demographics

02:31-03:36 How Peekskill schools have adapted to changing demographics

03:36-08:15 Ethics-infused decisions—balancing competing needs

08:15-08:48 Student data system

08:48-11:11 Addressing inequities systemically

11:11-13:35 Equity in student competitions with wealthy districts

13:35-15:04 BOCES

15:04-17:37 District equity audit

17:37-20:13 Immigrant family/school relationships

20:13-22:47 Helping to ease family tensions between immigrant parents and their U.S.- raised children

22:47-27:21 Culturally responsive education

27:21-30:18 Reducing suspensions and disproportional suspensions of Black boys/young men

30:18-32:17 Advice to a new superintendent or assistant superintendent

32:17-34:01 Outro


Click here to see the full transcription of this episode. 


Soundtrack by Podington Bear

Photo from twitter.com/PeekskillCSD