A PROJECT OF RURAL SCHOOLS COLLABORATIVE & NREA

Jamie Oberdorf, Seneca Falls, NY

"Educating the whole child" in the birthplace of women's rights

June 11, 2020 |
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It was the last day of the eighth grade NYS ELA Standardized Test. I vividly remember the essay topic was about women’s rights. I recall lifting my head to look at my classmates who had also put their gaze around the room. We were eighth graders in rural Seneca Falls, NY—birthplace of women’s rights. It was in that moment our hometown not only helped us ace the essay but gave us a sense of pride that students from all over New York State read about our small, rural town.

Almost two decades later, I am an educator in my historic, beautiful hometown. I wanted to return to Seneca Falls to teach and impact the youth in my community. My family had this picture in our house that said, “A small town is like a big family.” The emphasis on relationships and making meaningful connections to the people in our community is what makes Seneca Falls a great place to work.

Our district truly values educating the whole child. The district works tirelessly to ensure all students’ needs are met even beyond the school day. Our partnerships with local organizations allow us to provide food to families, access to internet and technology, transportation, and mental health services. We share the vision, education is a collective responsibility of schools, families, communities, and students. When you walk into a Seneca Falls Central School District building, you don’t hear me, my, or mine. You hear we, us, and our. That’s my rural advantage.

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