Assurance of Discontinuance
A commitment to ending disproportionality
in student suspension
In response to the December 2015 findings of an investigation by the New
York State Attorney General’s Office, the City School District of Albany
has reaffirmed its commitment to changing discipline practices and
procedures that have perpetuated disproportionate suspension rates for
black students and students with disabilities.
Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman announced an agreement with the district that all
parties believe will foster safe and effective school climates for each
of the district’s 9,500 students.
The investigation began in
February 2015 and included a review of suspension data between the 2009-10
and 2013-14 school years. The report found that the district suspended
an average of 1 in 8 students out of school, and that those suspended
students lost a total of more than 7,000 days of school each year as a
Black students were three times
more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Students with
disabilities were twice as likely to be suspended as students without
disabilities, and three times as likely to receive multiple suspensions
in the same school year.
attorney general's website to read the news release. You also can
to download the full agreement.
The report credited the
district for taking steps both before and since the investigation began
to address the suspension disparities. Those steps included revisions to
the Code of Conduct that took effect in the 2014-15 school year, updated
procedures to ensure due process for students in disciplinary matters
and new approaches to discipline that do not rely on suspension from a
class or school.
However, those steps have not
been consistently implemented district-wide, according to the report.
In addition to its continued
commitment to the steps noted in the attorney general’s report,
including continued training for staff and further revisions to the Code
of Conduct, the district will continue to prioritize
social-emotional supports for students in schools such as psychologists
and social workers.
Partnerships that bring more
community resources into school also will be a priority.
As part of the agreement, the
district also has hired an independent monitor to provide oversight and
audit the district’s compliance, and an ombudsperson to support the work,
assure full compliance with the district's Code of Conduct and taking
complaints about student discipline.
The City School District of Albany appointed
former long-time district administrator Maxine Fantroy-Ford, Ed.D., to
fill the independent monitor position required by the Assurance of
Discontinuance agreement with the New York State Attorney General's
An Albany High School graduate, Dr. Fantroy-Ford
previoulsy served the district in a variety of roles over a 35-year
career before retiring after the 2011-12 school year. She brings a deep
knowledge of our city and our school district to this critical new
Dr. Fantroy-Ford began her career in the
district in 1977 as an art teacher at Arbor Hill Elementary Community
School. She was appointed principal of Giffen Memorial Elementary School
in 1983, the first of three stints leading the South End elementary
In 1990, Dr. Fantroy-Ford became the district's
magnet schools director, and oversaw the opening of the district’s four
magnet programs, which have been recognized over the years by both the
state and federal governments for their achievements (the program at
Philip Livingston Magnet Academy ended when that middle school closed
after the 2008-09 school year).
Dr. Fantroy-Ford returned to serve as Giffen's
principal in 1997, establishing high standards for students, teachers
and parents. She rallied the school community around the goal of
increased student performance. Her leadership paid off: test scores
increased, afterschool programming grew, and home, community and school
relationships strengthened through initiatives such as the school’s
Family Resource Center. She served as principal at Albany High from
August 2006 until the end of the 2008-09 school year, returning once
again to lead Giffen until her retirement.
Her role as a part-time independent monitor is to ensure
compliance with the district’s agreement with the attorney general with
respect to disciplinary policies, procedures and practices.
She has independence with respect to access to
and review of records, documents and data to analyze and document the
extent to which the district is complying with the agreement. She will
prepare and submit quarterly reports to the attorney general documenting
the district’s compliance with each provision of the agreement. In
addition, she will make recommendations to the acting superintendent,
Board of Education and attorney general as necessary to promote and
ensure compliance with the Assurance.
You can reach Dr. Fantroy-Ford at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 475-6622.
Valarie Ann Scott is the City School District of
Albany's ombudsperson, a part-time position also required by the Assurance
of Discontinuance agreeement with the New York State Attorney General's
Scott, who got her start as a teacher at the
elementary level in Albany from 1982-84, served as a teacher and
administrator in the Schenectady City School District from 1989 until
her retirement in 2015. She served as an elementary principal in
Schenectady from 2002-15.
As the district’s
ombudsperson, Scott is charged with promoting procedural and
substantive fairness and full compliance with the district’s
Conduct, and state and federal laws. A key element of her role is
soliciting and taking complaints about student discipline from parents,
students, staff members and community advocates, investigating and evaluating these
complaints, and serving as liaison with the district’s administrative
staff, including but not limited to the director of pupil personnel
services, the director of special education and the superintendent, to
resolve these complaints.
Please follow this
link to contact the ombudsperson with a complaint about
The ombudsperson position also was
created to identify systemic issues that diminish fairness, impede full
compliance with the
Code of Conduct and the law, or impair full
communication between the district and parents, students, staff members and community
Scott does not participate
in formal adjudicative or administrative procedures, but does provide
information to parents, students, staff members and community members about these
procedures and the
Code of Conduct while promoting and encouraging
parents and students to fully engage in the student’s education and,
where necessary, the student disciplinary process.
You can reach Scott at