We speak with Dr. David Fine, school superintendent in Dover, a mostly white small town in rural Dutchess County, NY, where longtime residents have been joined by other families to create a more diverse and integrated demographic base. Dr. Fine emphasizes inclusivity,  building close relationships with families, and encouraging student engagement in conversations across divides. As there are few social service or mental health programs nearby, Dover schools fill critical  roles in the community.


00:00-00:35 Intros

00:35-01:33 Dover and its demographics

01:33-02:04 Economy

02:04-02:52 Student body demographics

02:52-03:52 Reacher recruitment challenges

03:52-05:15 Bilingual teacher recruitment

05:15-06:37 Skills needed by teachers working with new immigrants

06:37-07:15 Special ed evaluations for students learning English as a New Language

07:15-08:58 Why immigrant families come to Dover

08:58-10:23 Students with Interrupted Formal Education

10:23-11:10 Inclusivity

11:10-13:03 Schools’ central role in community with limited resources overall

13:03-14:53 Supporting youth mental health

14:53-16:17 Relationships with families

16:17-17:57 Relationships with staff and faculty

17:57-19:39 Impact of pandemic on relationships

19:39-20:27 Social emotional issues this year

20:27-22:36 Working with students and faculty during the return to school

22:36-24:19 Polarization and political discourse

24:19-25:59 Students with different views talking with each other; teachers engaging with r range of discussions as needed

25:59- Outro


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 

Soundtrack by Poddington Bear

Image: ms.doverschools.org