Frontier administrators address open letter on race education reform

  • Frontier Regional School in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2020 6:56:35 PM
Modified: 7/17/2020 6:56:22 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier Regional School District administrators have publicly acknowledged a letter from alumni calling for educational reform on the topics of race and racism, and recently formed a Anti-Racism and Equality Committee to consider these issues.

“I really appreciated our alumni putting this letter together, and not only putting together a well-written letter, but putting in some actual steps for us to consider,” Superintendent Darius Modestow said during a Frontier School Committee meeting this week. “I think the administration really took it to heart.”

Two hundred and eighty-five alumni signed the open letter to Frontier, which was submitted on July 6. The letter, signed by alumni who graduated between 1984 and 2020, offers suggestions on how to reform the way race and racism are taught at Frontier.

Frontier Principal Scott Dredge — who initially led the efforts to form a district-wide Anti-Racism and Equality Committee — told members of the School Committee that when he received the letter, he asked to be included in the list of alumni who signed it.

“It was great to receive that letter,” said Dredge, a 1997 graduate.

He told committee members that the first meeting of the Anti-Racism and Equality Committee happened to be held in conjunction with when the administration received the letter.

To date, he said, there are about 40 members who are involved with the committee. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, and the purpose of it will be to form four subcommittees in the area of professional development, curriculum, school policy and school culture.

“These subcommittees will then be tasked with researching those respective areas and then reporting back,” Dredge said. “Our goal is to really hit the ground running when we have access to the kids again, because the kids make up a fair chunk of this group.”

School Committee members thanked both Mariel Brown-Fallon — a 2011 Frontier alumna — for writing the letter and seeking the support of her fellow alumni, and administrators for offering their support.

“I just want to compliment Scott and Darius for taking this work head-on and engaging it,” said committee member Keith McFarland, “and really compliment the former students and alumni for coming out as well.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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