Equity-Centered Educational Leaders
To ensure excellence, equity, and a quality learning experience for every child, in every classroom, every day, education leaders, working alongside their school communities, must demonstrate equity-centered instructional leadership. Equity-centered leadership is essential because, through a sharp equity lens, leaders model and set direction, shape an environment where equity and excellence are the standard for everything, develop people personally and professionally, and make the organization "work" so teachers and school-site staff can engage in effective teaching, learning, and support.
DCIU Support for Equity-Centered Educational Leaders
Developing an Equity-based Vision, Mission, and Culture
Equity-centered leaders must shape and nurture a culture that integrates an inclusive approach to learning where the staff and community are committed to the success of all students. DCIU specialists can support leaders in the development of a learning-focused culture, based upon data-driven goals, that establish high performance expectations for students and adults, and a climate of respect and dignity for every person.
Fostering Equity-focused Instructional Practices
Equitable instructional practices, including culturally responsive instruction, a classroom culture of respect, differentiation, and engaging students in authentic intellectual work are important components for equity-centered schools. Doing so ensures all students have opportunity and access to rigorous learning, honors and AP courses, and the support needed to be successful within and across disciplines. DCIU supports leaders and schools in accomplishing this through:
- Professional learning to understand the role that culture and language play in learning and the connections for teaching practice
- Culturally responsive instruction
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Management of Systems and Processes
School leaders have significant responsibility in ensuring that key structures, systems, and processes are in place to facilitate communication, collaboration, and accountability among colleagues. Management of systems and processes is essential to the overall effectiveness of equity work. DCIU specialists are experts at systems-driven leadership and can provide support in the following areas:
- Aligning all initiatives to the vision and goals of the school or district
- Integrating across school and district initiatives
- Developing equity-based systems for ongoing assessment of program implementation, performance management, and student and school performance
- Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
Equity Audit Services
An equity audit is a study of the fairness of an institution’s policies, programs, and practices. Such audits represent a significant investment in resources – human and material. An equity audit may be extensive in scope or narrow. Looking at an entire school’s (or district’s) policies, programs, and practices is a major undertaking. More narrowly focused examples include equity audits related to particular aspects of school functions such as curriculum, discipline, graduation, or professional learning.
Why conduct an equity audit? The need for an equity audit can originate in many ways: from local self-awareness to a mandated compliance with federal law when the U.S. Office for Civil Rights has issued a finding of discrimination. A district may have internal desire to work toward more equitable systems, but needs data to determine where to start or how entrenched any issues might be. Moreover, a school or other organization may simply want an equity framework in place to understand progress toward meeting important local needs related to educational equity.