School District Efforts to Achieve Equality of Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination
Many districts have developed and implemented school improvement plans through funding from programs such as Carl Perkins, IASA, or Goals 2000. Districts will have the opportunity to discuss these efforts and highlight achievements. Districts will be asked to evaluate the overall effectiveness of these and other efforts in achieving pupil nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity. Of primary concern is the effectiveness of these efforts to increase achievement for all students and reduce the achievement gaps between and across protected groups.
The evaluation of this section is more general in focus. Unlike the previous sections, no one particular area is highlighted. Instead, the district is asked to focus generally on school climate, academic achievement, professional development, and student activities related to diversity.
In doing so, districts should consider whether all students feel welcome, safe and respected within the school. Districts should also review achievement data and identify any possible impediments to improving achievement. In other words, districts should consider whether all children are succeeding. And if not, why not? Finally, districts should consider whether staff receives sufficient and sustained professional development to ensure that every effort is made to provide an equitable educational opportunity for all students.
For information on fostering and promoting safe and successful schools, see Citizenship Building a World of Good: A Tool Kit for Schools and Communities, available from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. For a resource and planning guide on equity, diversity and inclusiveness, see Educating All Our Children, A Joint Project of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, CESA 2, and Keyes Consulting, Inc, available from K2 Associates, LLC, 608-232-7099.
For information on the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education Program (SAGE), please contact Janice Zmrazek at 608-266-2489. This program is designed to improve student achievement by reducing class size, increasing family and community involvement, ensuring a rigorous curriculum, and providing staff development.
By evaluating this area, school districts will have an opportunity to:
- Assess efforts in achieving pupil nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity
- Enhance efforts to foster a safe, respectful and welcoming school climate
- Identify and develop ways to improve student achievement and citizenship
Equity Efforts and Achievements
- Describe any equity plans that have been implemented to achieve equality of educational opportunity and nondiscrimination. What is the evidence that these plans have been successful?
- Describe any initiatives designed to achieve equity goals.
- Describe the actions, programs, efforts, et cetera, which have been the most successful.
- Describe the role and activities of your equity committee.
- Of what efforts is the district most proud?
- What are more difficult issues?
- How do pictures and images in the school reflect and celebrate diversity? Are men and women, individuals from different racial or ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities viewed positively, in a variety of positive roles and in non-stereotypical ways?
- Are all parents encouraged to participate in significant ways in the life of the school? Is transportation, translation, childcare and other support made available for parents to attend school events? Do parents know this is available?
- Do schools
- Invite parents to school frequently
- Show parents ways to reinforce adademic concepts at home
- Use parents as cultural resources
- Invite parents to the class to discuss their own cultural backgrounds
- What efforts have been made to improve intergroup relations?
- How have students been provided with a positive and respectful school climate? In what ways can the climate be improved?
- Does the district routinely collect, analyze and use achievement data by race, national origin, sex, and disability? Does a minority achievement gap exist? Do other achievement gaps exist?
- Is the data analyzed for the purpose of identifying strengths, needs, barriers and opportunities?
- How have curriculum objectives, instructional strategies, counseling and assessment practices been changed or modified as a result of achievement data analysis?
- What specific strategies or activities has the district adopted to increase student achievement? Are these strategies likely to increase achievement for all students? Reduce achievement gaps?
- Describe how the district will continuously measure the effectiveness of strategies and activities to improve student achievement.
- Are equal educational opportunities, diversity and achievement gaps between groups considered in the planning and implementation of all professional development?
- Does staff see equity and excellence goals as complementary or competing? Do they understand how to make excellence a reality for diverse learners? Do they understand their roles in creating a positive climate and demonstrating caring and high expectations for all students?
- How has the district provided professional development designed to enhance student achievement? How often is this provided?
- How has the district provided professional development about diverse cultural backgrounds, communication and learning styles? How often is this provided?
Student Development of Equity and Diversity Competence
- Is there a student diversity club or another club designed to promote respect, tolerance and celebration of difference?
- Does citizenship education include attention to diversity, civil rights, respect, and equity?
- What are your recommendations for improving efforts to achieve equality of educational opportunity and nondiscrimination? How will these recommendations be implemented?
Prepare a summary of the district's efforts regarding pupil nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity. Highlight those that have worked most effectively. In addition, prepare a summary of findings, analysis and supporting data regarding school climate, student achievement, professional development, and student development. Include in your summary any recommendations for improvement and information on how they will be implemented. Include this summary in your report.