Educational Equity Framework
History of the Educational Equity Policy
In 2018-2019, Dr. Marc Schaffer started his work in the Thompson School District (TSD) as Superintendent of Schools. In February 2019, he created and hired a new position of Director of Language, Culture, and Equity (LCE) to guide educational equity to become a focus for the district. The TSD Board of Education (BoE) had been reviewing data demonstrating disparities in educational and behavioral outcomes over time, and they felt compelled to address this important issue. In September 2019, Dr. Schaffer invited the Director of Language, Culture, and Equity to create an Educational Equity Policy for the district. The Director and their colleagues worked closely with the TSD Community and the BoE in ongoing conversations to build a common language and understanding and uncover their desires and commitments in addressing equity across the TSD system. Vast community stakeholder input was gathered in the creation of the Educational Equity Policy:
- Five hundred staff in the district completed a survey related to equity awareness, skill, and action.
- Over 1,400 responses to various types of surveys related to student, family, and staff needs helped determine the themes chosen to be written into the Educational Equity Policy.
- Community listening sessions with diverse community members and diverse student focus groups helped guide the writing of the policy.
- District leadership, including Principals, Assistant Principals, Directors, Cabinet Members, and BoE, participated in listening sessions to describe their commitments and responsibilities to enact equity.
- Designed with the TSD community's voice and perspectives gathered from July 2019 to March 2020, the policy was first presented to the BoE on March 11, 2020.
- Due to COVID-19 closures, the final reading of the policy was delayed until June 2020.
The ADB Educational Equity Policy was presented to the TSD School Board and passed unanimously on June 17, 2020, and it highlights two overarching themes:
The district commits to ensuring that it will not limit student opportunity, access, and success on the basis of a person's actual or perceived characteristics, such as, but not limited to
race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, immigration/citizenship status, age, marital status, conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, genetic information, mental or physical disability, need for special education services, or any other protected class in conformance with federal, state, & local law.
The Educational Equity policy addresses persistent gaps in academic achievement and growth, course, athletic, and activity participation, student disciplinary outcomes, and graduation rates.
The Equity Framework defines the infrastructure for active implementation in the Thompson School District. It consists of a description of the History and Background of this innovative plan, District Commitment, Equity Beliefs, and the five-year TSD Educational Equity Implementation Plan.
Upon approval of the Educational Equity Policy, the Director of Language, Culture, and Equity began to lead the creation of the framework to align with the Educational Equity Policy and a 5-year implementation plan. The district requested an Equity Compass Review by the Western Educational Equity Assistance Center (WEEAC) housed at the Metropolitan State University of Denver to identify educational equity needs across multiple levels of the organization.
- The first part of the Review was completed September 14-18, 2020, which utilized a rubric-based set of 23 indicators to measure educational equity tenets and was implemented by six highly-trained reviewers. Ninety-five individuals were interviewed, 14 group interviews were held, and a district-level document review was completed. The WEEAC's Executive Summary highlighted the Equity Policy and noted six recommendations for growth.
- The second Review focused on a sample of six TSD schools and was completed between March 29 and April 1, 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- The Educational Equity Framework included a broad range of diverse community and stakeholder input from students, staff, families, and community representatives.
- The Equity Framework was shared at a public board meeting on June 2, 2021.
TSD Commitment to Educational Equity
TSD values each individual's diversity, safety, well-being, and success. Building the capacity of district staff to demonstrate equitable practices throughout the system will bring about the conditions and skill sets needed to ensure educational benefit to each of our students. Our commitments include:
- Honoring diversity
- Empowering staff
- Providing safe, inclusive, and supportive learning and work environments
- Welcoming families, guardians, and community members
- Allocating resources equitably
Our commitments, founded on our TSD Equity Beliefs, will be the center of our work.
TSD Foundational Educational Equity Beliefs
- The district believes that each student is valued and important, has the potential to learn and grow, and that we are responsible for educating each child in our system while honoring their diversity.
- The district is committed to creating and implementing a district organization in which leadership and members of all divisions take responsibility for and are accountable for ensuring that students and staff are provided with what they need to be successful.
- The district is committed to further empowering excellent staff to provide culturally responsive and sustaining practices through ongoing training across the system.
- The district is committed to providing safe, inclusive, and supportive learning and work environments in which students, staff, families, and the community's diversity are recognized, honored, and respected, thereby creating a strong sense of belonging so that each individual can achieve their goals.
- The district believes families should be welcomed, supported, and engaged in receiving information about programs available to their children.
- The district believes that allocating resources equitably will support the narrowing of student opportunity gaps. Adjusting academic, athletic, activity fee, resource, and supply structures across the school district will increase access and opportunity for each student.
The TSD Equity framework includes the following Equity Moves that support the implementation of our Educational Equity Policy over the next five years:
Equity Moves are the core features of our framework that will help us move our equity work forward in the Thompson School District. Each Move is valuable in our systemic growth.
Equity Move → Equitable Student Outcomes
Increase Data-informed decision-making to improve student outcomes
TSD leadership will lead data-informed district and school decision-making processes to narrow opportunity gaps by reviewing disaggregated trend data by any available identifiers.
Equity Move → Inclusive Family/Guardian and Community Input
Increase diverse representation in decision-making
TSD leaders will create and maintain meaningful systems and structures for active involvement, engagement, and decision-making of students, families, staff, and community members that reflect the diversity of the student body.
Equity Move → Multilingual Communication
Increase multilingual communication
TSD leaders will provide information in the home language of families at the school and district levels.
Equity Move → Culturally Competent and Diverse staff
Increase the diverse representation of TSD employees
TSD leaders will utilize targeted recruitment, employment, support, and retention of a culturally competent workforce that reflects the diversity of the student body.
Equity Move → Professional Growth for Equity
Increase staff capacity to engage in equitable practices
TSD will offer high-quality ongoing professional learning to engage and empower staff at all levels with the goal of increasing culturally relevant and equitable practices.
Equity Move → Equitable Resource Allocation
Increase equitable resource allocation of funds, resources, people, and time
TSD will increase access for each student through equitable resource allocation throughout TSD.