REL Midwest Training for School Board Members on Opportunity Gaps


LESLIE: Hi, everyone. My name is
Leslie Anderson. I’m the Project Director for this
training that we’re conducting on School Boards and Educational Equity: Bridging Research, Policy, and Practice. We’re very excited to bring this
training to you via webinar. For those of you who may not know, we have done two of these trainings in person, one outside of Milwaukee, and the
other in Madison. We were very excited that we got
a great response to the training. People seemed to find it very helpful, and we’re hopeful that what we’re able to share with you today, you’ll
also find helpful. I just wanted to start by giving
you just a brief overview of the plan for the next hour and a half. We’ll do a quick welcome and introductions. I’ll introduce the members of the team who will be presenting this afternoon. Then, we’ll talk a little bit about
the achievement and opportunity gaps in Wisconsin, some strategies that the State
of Wisconsin, as well as some school districts, have used to
improve outcomes and close gaps. And then, more specifically, what
school board members can do to reduce the gaps in achievement
and opportunity. Just to give you a little lay of
the land, who we are, the presenters this afternoon include myself, Dan Aladjem, Jeanine Hildreth and
Alisha Butler. We are all experienced researchers
and technical assistance providers. And we’re, again, very happy to
be presenting this information to you this afternoon. One thing I did want to point out is, we’ve built a number of activities
into this webinar that we’re hoping will help everyone engage a little more directly in the material
we’re presenting. Just to give you a little sense
of what we’ll be doing, there will be a somewhat brief
chat room discussion; there will be some large group discussions; a few polls that we’ll administer; and then, a short – it’s sort of
a survey at the end. Anyway, so, there’s lots of opportunities
for you to engage with the material, as I said, and
also we’re hoping that just the interactive nature of
this webinar will help. We’re hopeful you’ll find it helpful
and interesting. Just a little information about REL Midwest. We really wanted to give you a
little bit of the context for how we developed this webinar. The project is part of the Regional
Education Laboratory, or REL Midwest, and it’s through
applied research, technical assistance, and engagement activities that we aim to support our partners
in understanding research and evidence in order
to solve problems of practice. The Midwest Achievement Gap Research
Alliance, or MAGRA, is a collaborative partnership
between REL Midwest, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and regional and local education agencies. The MAGRA partnership works with
partners across Wisconsin to use research and evidence as they improve educational outcomes among Black students. This webinar, as well as the in-person
trainings we hosted on the same topic originated from
our partners. The MAGRA members advised on this
project throughout, including an in-person convening
to review and advise on the content of this session. So, just REL Midwest, so you know
in case you don’t, is one of ten RELs across the country. And they are funded by the Institute
of Education Sciences, or IES at the US Department of Education. So, what are the goals of the training? First and foremost is to raise
awareness about opportunity achievement gaps experienced by
Wisconsin’s Black students. And we have some data to share
with you about some of those gaps to facilitate conversations among peers. As I mentioned earlier, we will
be having group discussions. And we’re hopeful that everyone will be interested in sharing their ideas,
their concerns, what they believe is happening
in their own districts. The more that people are comfortable sharing, the better these discussions will be. The third goal of the training
is to share resources and strategies that school board members and district
administrators can hopefully use to increase educational
opportunities and improve outcomes for students
in their district. CORA: Hi, Leslie. I’m so sorry
to jump in. This is Cora. We’re still seeing just the title slide. I don’t know if you’re able to move forward to the goals slide or the other
introductory slides. LESLIE: Oh, okay. Let me see if
I can check on that. I’ll try sharing my screen again. Hmm. Can you see it now? CORA: Yep, I see the REL map slide now. LESLIE: Oh, great. Okay. I am sorry. For those of you who are on the
call, you didn’t miss much. Just very simple slides. These
are the presenters. So, I’m very sorry for that. Moving along to the goals of the
training, as I mentioned. To raise awareness, facilitate
conversations and share resources. Just to give you a little background,
there is a growing body of research that has examined the
role of school boards and their influence on the quality
of education. There are some studies that have
shown that there’s an association between what school boards do and the academic outcomes that
schools enjoy. And then, in Wisconsin in particular, the role of school boards is important. In 2011, Act 10 shifted more responsibility
regarding decisions and policies aimed at impacting
student learning to school boards. So, we just wanted to share with
you a few quotes. This is from Campbell and Fullan,
who published a book not very long ago, it just
actually came out a few months ago, called The Governance Core: School Boards, Superintendents,
and Schools Working Together. And in that, they say the value of the board is in the strategic oversight and
support that the board provides. The board brings the passion, the drive, the commitment to achieve the moral imperative, not distracted by the day-to-day
administrative challenges. This is purposeful action. We’re assuming that there’s an
interest in participating in this webinar because there’s
recognition that the board can set the vision for a school district. And the more a board understands about some of the gaps in achievement
and opportunity, the more informed that vision can be. Before we go much further, we thought
it might be helpful to everyone involved if we had
a little bit of a discussion about who everyone is who’s participating
in this webinar. So, if you could use the chat box
to just tell us a little bit about your role in
your district, the size of your district if you
know it, but most importantly, if you could just share why you
chose to attend the training, and what you’re hoping to get out
of the training. And once I see folks entering information
in the chat box, I’ll read some of that to you. Okay. Any volunteers? Oh, there we go, okay. Let’s see. We have a principal
from a small district. There’s just one high school, two
middle schools, and four elementary schools. We have a first year board member in a relatively small district,
just 2,000 students. Another school board member in
a K-8 district. Another one in a 7,000 student district. Anyone want to describe why you
wanted to attend the training? Or perhaps more importantly, what you’re hoping to get out of
the training? I see one is interested in learning more about the board of education’s role in equity. One district has about 35% minority students, and a 20% poverty rate. Oh, here’s one that – hoping to
inspire all students and staff. Another – someone else said equity
is important to me and our board. Well, thank you for sharing. Use the chat box if there’s more
you’d like to share. Also, at the end of the webinar,
you’ll see our e-mail addresses. Please, by all means, if there’s
any additional information you’d like to share with us, please do so using our e-mail addresses or getting
– yeah, okay. Moving along, the next section
of this webinar is focusing on achievement and opportunity gaps
in Wisconsin. And just so you know, I’m going
to share a few of the slides. And then, I’m going to turn it
over to my colleague, Alisha Butler. And she’ll take you through more of the data. This is a quote from Carter and
Welner, who wrote a book in 2013 about closing the opportunity gap. In a pluralistic and democratic
society, schools must respond to students’ actual needs, build
on their unique strengths, be culturally responsive, and provide
the opportunities necessary to give every student a fair chance
at academic success. We wanted to try and describe it
in more clear terms, what opportunity gaps are and what
they look like. And this is just a graphic representation of what opportunity gaps look like across schools. So, within the same district, you
could have two schools that are providing very different
access to opportunities. In the schoolhouse on the left,
you see that students have access to a positive school climate, AP classes, wrap-around support
for families, high-quality pre-K, small class size. And that those opportunities cumulatively amount to a broader set of skills and abilities for students and better readiness for college and career. And on the right side, you have
a school that’s able to provide some opportunities,
but not nearly as many. And then, another quote from Carter and Welner, it’s just focusing on the differences in schools. And students of different social
groups may attend good schools together, but the
segregation within that school that often occurs belies claims
of equal opportunity. In many schools, African American, Latino and Native American students are
rarely exposed to the upper-echelon college preparatory classes. And this is really just another
graphic representation of what Carter and Welner were saying. So, even within a school, you could have very different access to opportunities
for students. So, some students, again, within
the same school have better opportunities to access AP classes and small class sizes, whereas
other students do not. And it results in very different degrees of readiness for college and career. And then, the last graphic on the
opportunity gap is something that I’m sure many
of you have seen; that equality is really about providing all students with the same supports and services, whereas equity is providing students with the supports and services that
meet their needs. And then, liberation – sometimes,
this side of the graphic is referred to as justice – the
liberation is basically, it’s taking away all the barriers,
all the policies and practices that stand in the
way of students achieving what they – achieving
their best in school. With that, I’m going to turn this
over to my colleague, Alisha Butler, and she’s going
to take you through some of the state-level data. ALISHA: Great. Thank you, Leslie. So, as Leslie mentioned, I will
walk you through some state-level, and then we’ll do an exercise with
district-level data to give you a sense of the types
of opportunity and achievement gaps that you might
see in the state of Wisconsin and in smaller districts between
Black and white students. And so, if you look at the next slide… This graphic is showing the gaps
between Black students and other students on the English
language arts test that’s administered by the State
of Wisconsin. And as you can see here, Black
students have the largest gap between their portion of students who score proficient on that exam or advance
compared to white students, and smaller gaps for American Indian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and Asian students. If we keep going to the next slides
– and the next one – we’re looking here at graduation
data and college enrollment. And we see similar trends, where
Black students, again, have some of the largest gaps in
the state between the portion of students who graduate high school
compared to white students. And so, in the next slide, you
can actually see the data. In Wisconsin, the proportion of
students who graduate, Black students is 67% compared
to 93% of white students. And the gap in Wisconsin is one
of the largest, and you see the national gap is
only nine percentage points. And then, the next slide, we look
at postsecondary enrollment. And these data are for the class
of 2018. Looking at all postsecondary enrollment,
41% of Black students enroll in either a two- or four-year college, compared to 64% of white students. And we see gaps in also the types
of institutions that students enroll in. So, Black students, 45% enroll
in two-year institutions, compared to 29% of white students. And Black students, 54% of them enroll in four-year institutions, compared
to 71%. So, again, we see these consistent gaps between Black and white students. Heading to the next slide… This is just a quote that again
drives the point home, that Wisconsin has some of the
widest gaps in achievement. This is about high school graduation
rate for 2015, when it was 88%, and was the sixth highest graduation rate nationally, but the state had the widest gap for Black and
white students. So, on the next slide, we’ll look at other types of opportunity gaps
in the state. This is looking at the advanced
placement enrollment in the state. And you can see that Black students
are 9% of the students who are enrolled in schools in
the state of Wisconsin, but they’re only 5% of the students who enroll in advanced placement courses,
so they are underrepresented in AP courses relative to their population. And I note that these data come
from the United States Department of Education’s Office
of Civil Rights. And so, the data are a little bit outdated. But we continue to see these gaps elsewhere. So, the next slide, here, we’re
looking at Black students’ exposure to exclusionary discipline. So, the proportion of students
who are suspended or expelled. Again, Black students are 9% of
the population in the state of Wisconsin, but
they are 38% of all students who received an out-of-school suspension, and 29% of all of the students
who are expelled. So, these students are being overrepresented and punished and excluded from school. Let’s
go to the next slide. And so, we have a poll. We just want to know, to what extent
are you familiar with these data opportunities and outcomes for Black students in Wisconsin? And so, you’ll see the questions. If you could just hit your response
and click submit. We’ll have Cora show the responses. Okay. So, a mixed group. 27% were very familiar, 55% were
mostly familiar with the data, and 18% were somewhat familiar. So, there’s some familiarity, but it ranges. So, with that in mind, let’s go
to the next slide. And we’ll take a look at district-level data. What I’m going to do is, I’m going
to share a website. This is ProPublica’s Miseducation series. If you’re not familiar with ProPublica, they are an independent news organization that does deep, investigative reporting. And they did a series that looked
at opportunity across the United States and in
various districts. So, I’m going to show you what
these data look like for the Appleton Area School District. Okay. And so, what you should see,
this is ProPublica’s website and the Miseducation series showing
you Appleton School District. You see the district composition. You see there are 5% of students who are Black, 9% Hispanic, 72% white. And then, we see issues related
to opportunity, discipline and achievement gaps. So, in the school district, white
students are 2.4 times more likely than Black students
to be enrolled in AP courses. And Native American and Alaska
Native students are actually 6.8 times more likely to be suspended
as white students. So, you see different groups. We
can see opportunity. This is the AP course composition, similar to what we shared at the state level. Black students are 5% of the population
of the district, but yet, only 2% of the students
who are enrolled in AP classes, and 2% in gifted and talented. What we would like you to do is
look at your own district’s data. So, going to the ProPublica series,
I’ll include the link in the chat box in just a second
and show you a data tool that you can use to sort of capture
some of the issues related to opportunity and achievement
gaps in your district. So, coming up is the ProPublica link. And then, the next link will be
the link to the data tool that you can download if you’d
like to record information about your district. In the meantime, let’s go back
to the slides. And I will stop sharing my screen. We also wanted to point you to
the other data sources, which include the Office of Civil Rights data. You can see the link there. And also, WISEdash, which includes some of the state- and district-level
data in a nice data tool. Okay. Is anyone having trouble
finding their districts? You can enter your response in
the chat box. Let’s go to the next slide. And we have a second poll now asking
how familiar you are with the district data that you
see on ProPublica? Okay. So here, it looks like most
people are very familiar, so 38%. We have some people who were mostly familiar. And 25% were some familiar. And we had some folks who weren’t
familiar at all with their data. So, I think that segues nice into
our discussion. Does anyone want to share anything that surprised them when looking
at their data? Any volunteers? Yeah. So, I think this is great
that people are familiar. So, we can move onto the next section
to think about some strategies that districts
have used to address these gaps. I’m going to hand it over to Jeanine. JEANINE: Okay. Thank you, Alisha.
So, just a few things here in this next couple of slides,
just to show some of the work that is already going on in Wisconsin. So, we can go to the next slide. First thing, I want to talk about
REL – REL West. As we mentioned – as Leslie mentioned
in the opening, they’ve been working on this with
the MAGRA groups. One of the first things that they
did was a systematic literature review of the interventions
associated with Black students’ educational outcomes
using ESSA tiers of evidence. The review was published back in
February of 2018. And this review, as well as other
sources, are available online and free-to-use, and the
staff from REL West will be selling – will be sending all the links as
a follow-on to this webinar. To support engagement with the
findings, we also created – they also created an infographic
that outlines the review process, as well as the interventions highlighted
in the report, and which student outcomes they
were associated with. We do have some data here and some research backing up what we’re saying. We’ve got the picture of the cover, and then, again, what the review process was. LESLIE: And Jeanine, I just wanted
to share that there are links to the lit review and the infographic
that are in the chat box now. JEANINE: Okay. Excellent, thank
you. Next slide. And then, they also did – the people
at AIR did a short eleven minute video based on the
district work in Racine to address some of these gaps,
and it kind of brings to life some of the work that some of your
fellow districts are doing to address these achievement gaps. Next slide. And then, finally, we have here
– and to accompany the video, they created a viewing guide that
provides additional information and discussion questions that you
can use within your district to facilitate conversations addressing
equity issues in your district. So, again, we’ll get the links. And they’re also at the end, as Leslie said, we have a references section at
the end of this PowerPoint, too, which you also get. Okay. Next slide. And so, here, we’ll just kind of
delve into – including Racine, we’ll delve into a couple specific
strategies that are going on at the state and district levels
already with the hope that, if you see something that’s exciting
or interesting to you, then maybe you can reach out to somebody in one of your sister districts
to discuss what they’re doing. Next slide. Alright, so, at the
state level, as I’m sure many of you know, there’s a lot
of work going on with Dr. Evers that has identified achievement
gap as a statewide priority. First specific efforts include the state’s Promoting Excellence for All initiative, which they also created a report. And then, as part of its ESSA plan
that went to the Federal government back in 2017,
they pledged to cut the achievement gap in half for
all student groups in six years. So, another three years or so. And then, there is the Districts
of Innovation Program to encourage innovation equity
initiatives statewide by helping remove policies and
administrative barriers which may inadvertently be causing equity
challenges within districts. Next slide. One of the first ones
we mentioned, that they had done the video on Racine. And so, what Racine has done is, they support a broad range of programs designed
to connect to young people with mentors, support early learning,
childhood education, and promotes positive school cultures. And so, all this work is codified
in their core values as represented in their strategic
plan and other governing documents. Another district has been doing
a lot of work on this – in this area is the Green Bay Area
School District. One of the things that they have
done that’s really important is they appointed an equity coordinator,
somebody who’s responsible for working across the district
to implement this work. And they’ve also hired a bilingual
family engagement coordinator to help ensure that all students have access to quality educational experiences. As some people said in their earlier
chat and introducing themselves, they mentioned that they want to
ensure the success of all students. And these are just efforts that
some of your districts have made to make the work accessible to
everyone. Next slide. And then, one of the things we
did when we were developing this, we did a little bit more work,
we did an interview with staff from Janesville to get
a little bit of extra information on what they’re doing. And so, they’ve been working on
this for a long time, starting about ten years ago. They’ve owned this work really
being spearheaded by one of their former staff members. And they were also involved in
working – helping the state. They’re part of the districts that
helped develop the framework, the Excellence for All framework that we discussed on the previous slide. And they adopted the developing
Excellence for All, which was based on their work with the state five years ago as a district priority. And as we see at the bottom – can
you go back, Leslie, real quick? And they have the five promises
there representing their work. So, they have student success,
relationships, culture and climate, finance, and
health and safety. And so, they’ve really been working
to make a coherent district plan to allow all five
of those to work together to help increase equity opportunities
throughout the district. Next slide. And again, as we had
mentioned at Green Bay, they also appointed a district staff member to lead equity work in the district. They’ve integrated equity issues throughout all of their district work as represented
by the five commitments. And right now, they’re in the process
of refreshing their curriculum, so they’re adopting new curriculum
materials and resources. And so, as they’re going through this, using the equity lens when adopting, making sure that all students have
access to those materials, and that the materials that are
adopted reflect this. And as they were planning these
new curriculum materials, they realized, they learned, and
speaking with the staff from the schools, that at one point
in high schools, only students who are enrolled
in AP classes got to take their textbooks home. That was a policy from the district or strategy from the district that was actually
causing gaps. And so, as they’re purchasing new
curriculum materials, they’re making sure they have enough
materials for all students to take their books home to study
in the after-school hours. Next slide. And so, what they’ve
done is to filter this down to the school level, they’re supporting
and encouraging all schools to identify equity – to do an equity
audit to identify gaps. And they’re encouraging all teams
to encourage an equity team of diverse staff, and this team
takes the lead work in looking at the data, providing trainings on implicit and explicit bias,
micro-aggressions, teaching other staff how to analyze the data, kind of learn about that, and then
using all that information to develop the school’s equity plan, which will guide their work moving forward. Next slide. And then, one of the
other things, Milwaukee Public Schools has also done quite a bit of work in this area. And so, what they’ve done is, as
we have listed here, they have a Department of Black
& Latino Male initiative, which kind of tries to address
a problem from two ends. Both creating positive narratives
about what Black and Latino males are capable of doing from the teacher
and the administrator/adult end, but also from the student and the
young person end. So, they can all see that these
students have assets; they can bring brilliance, creativity
and greatness to their work in the school district. And so, then you see the BLMA vision
is that Black & Latino boys and young men will possess an affirmed
sense of identity, dignity, and self-confidence, and
will have the necessary tools to triumphantly navigate college,
career, and life. Next slide. And so, now, try to
make use of the group chat again. No, we’re going to actually take
off the – let people speak. Not the chat. So, if there’s anyone
online who wants to kind of briefly discuss things that you’ve done, that you’ve got going on in your
district right now to kind of address some of these issues, the equity issues locally that
you’re aware of. I think we’re unmuting everyone,
so if people want to weigh in… I think everyone should be unmuted,
so if you’ll – go ahead and please share if you
have something. Somebody doesn’t have a microphone,
unfortunately. Okay. I’ll give everybody a couple
more minutes. LESLIE: If you’re uncomfortable
using your microphone, by all means, use the chat box if you have anything
you wanted to share. SEAN: Hey, this is Sean from Wauwatosa. I don’t know if you guys can hear me.
JEANINE: Yep. SEAN: One of the things that we
launched last year was related to that high standards
for everybody idea, where we’re offering AP Human Geography
to all sophomores. It’s a mandatory course that all sophomores in our high schools are going through. We had our first kind of pilot
year to see how that went, relative to the other history course
that was offered. And so far, in the first year, everybody – there were pretty similar results
from one year to the other, which means there were more students
in a more rigorous course, and exposure to that AP rigor,
and we didn’t see much slip. So, that was a good tactical success,
I guess, for us. JEANINE: That’s great. Yeah. Opening
up AP is, I think, one of the – different districts
are leveraging that as an opportunity to, like you
said, increase rigor – access to rigorous opportunities
for all kids while providing the supports they need to be successful
in those courses. I see here, I have one here, Kathleen. She says they’ve implemented family
game nights, which include dinner, and encourages families who might
avoid coming to the school because of experience to just come
in and have fun. And so, that’s another way, again,
to make level of comfort in the school more available to everyone, and kind of encourage family engagement and support. So, that’s another great strategy. Alright, well, I think if that’s it, we’ll go ahead and we’ll move on
to the next section. DAN: Okay, great. Thanks, Jeanine. So, we posted the state-wide data, and you’ve had an opportunity to dive into your district data to understand some aspects of the achievement opportunity
gaps facing school boards. Now that we’ve talked about state
strategy, let’s dig into what school board members can do
to address these issues. And so, to do this, we’re going to build on the work of Pat Savage-Williams,
and the reference to this work is in – to the references in this
PowerPoint that you’ll have. And Savage-Williams identified ten ways for school boards to champion equity. The next slide, Leslie, please.
In the next two slides, we’ll take a closer look at the
bolded strategies. That’s not to say that the other
three we’re not talking about are not important; they absolutely are, so please take a look at them after the webinar. The article is short and you can
find it on the web pretty readily. So, the first strategy: have a
strong commitment to racial equity. School board members must commit,
as we’ve been discussing, to creating school cultures that
embrace equity and support the superintendent
in moving equity forward. Just along the lines we were just
talking about, with making AP Human Geography
available to ninth graders, some schools have also de-tracked
ninth grade classes as a way to increase participation
later on in AP classes. So if they’re de-tracked in ninth
grade, you don’t have students in, for example, history and English
and biology classes tracked by ability, which then
sets them up in tenth grade some kids, predominately the white students, to be prepared to take AP classes,
whereas students of color are not prepared, so that’s one
important strategy that can come out of having this strong
commitment at the board level. Another thing that boards can do
is to adopt an equity statement. And an equity statement isn’t policy,
but it’s a guidepost. Back to the quote that Leslie read earlier on about school boards members having
the moral vision for the work. An equity statement frames and
focuses a school district on equity. And so, the Wisconsin Association
of School Boards – Leslie, next slide, please. A couple
of next slides. One after that, I believe. There we go. Adopted an equity statement last
year, just about a year ago, stating that we, the Wisconsin
Association of School Boards, affirm that students can, will,
and shall learn. Not all students receive equitable
opportunities, and this is the key part of the
definition, I think. Equity is the intentional allocation
of resources, instruction, and opportunities – and I really can’t emphasize that enough, the intentional allocation of resources. It’s not just sort of a feel-good
statement of, we want all students to learn,
or we want to focus on students who have been disadvantaged or
feel left out or otherwise, or have that fence up blocking
them, but we really want to intentionally allocate resources,
instruction, and opportunities. In addition, at the board level,
can go down to the school level. The next slide is an example of
a high school equity statement. I’ll let you take a look at that
on your own after the webinar. It’s really quite detailed, it’s
this slide and the next slide. Again, the point is, equity statements are important guideposts at the
district level, and then going down to the school
level, as well. ALISHA: And so, the next thing
we recommend is having a chance to expand your personal knowledge
and understanding of race issues. One recommendation, of course,
is to look for courses or workshops in educational institutions, preferably, about unconscious bias and develop
the tools and the language to have these conversations about race. We all know that talking about race and resource allocation can be difficult, but if you have the opportunity
to build the skills to do so, we think that you’ll be able and
more comfortable in having those conversations about
resource allocation. When we talk about unconscious
bias, it’s things that seep in. And we often don’t know that we’re doing them. And those things are real, and
we have to address them. And so, having some opportunities to get training around that can
be really helpful. We also recommend that people develop the capacity to challenge insensitive policies that might impede the success of
students of color. We heard some examples of a policy that maybe sounds innocuous on the surface,
like not allowing students to bring books home, but does really impede. So, just really be thinking about how you can challenge those policies
in your district. On the next slide. The next thing is initiating and creating structural changes to support equity. And you had some data tools earlier,
there are many more out there. But this is an opportunity to look at your data and look at the disparities that
might exist in your district, and think about the structures
that hold them together. We want you to think beyond the
idea that traditions and customs are driving change,
but that there are structural things that get in the
way of students’ achievement. And you might not see them as problematic, but we do think that they are important to address. And then, think about the relationship
that you have with your superintendent and other
administrators in your district to create counter-narratives with
different outcomes about what students of color and
other groups can achieve. DAN: Okay. So, to create the structural changes, the next strategy is to change
school budgets to prevent disparities. So, that involves being certain
that all funding, staffing, materials, equipment, facilities,
space, school trips, and other resources are set using
an equity-based lens. So, as Alisha just said, you’re
looking at those relatively innocuous-seeming things, like
who can take textbooks home, to say, well, what does this mean for equity? Highly qualified staff and facilities
are also a place to focus, including learning environments,
technology, instructional support. They all need to be allocated,
disbursed, maintained, with an eye towards equity. The next one. Be data-informed. We’ve spent a lot of time today,
this afternoon, talking about data. It’s critically important to remember
the patterns established have been in place for decades,
if not longer. It’s unlikely that those disparities
will disappear within a few years, but you need to continually
examine your data to understand those patterns, disparities,
and to understand how they’re changing or not changing
over time in response to the changes that you put in place
to address these equity concerns. And lastly, expect opposition.
Change is hard, we all know it. And all of you who are board members
know it as well as anyone, that you’re going to face opposition,
no matter what you do. And addressing these issues of
equity and achievement gaps can and often do divide communities. But it’s critical to continue engaging
with community members and with different stakeholder
groups, particularly those who are most vocal, and who may honestly
never have had any personal experience with equity training or thought very much about it,
but react kind of viscerally. So, we encourage you to employ
careful and thoughtful responses and strategies to opposition
that you will likely face. You’ll listen to the concerns,
and provide opportunities for others to share their perspectives and to listen to other perspectives. You won’t convince all of your
opponents, but the research literature on civic engagement
shows that you will convince a few, and those who may
never agree with you may at least not oppose you quite so actively. And they do generally have a need
to feel heard. So, engage them and try your best. So, next, we have another poll. Which strategy do you feel reflects
a current asset or strength of your school board? Okay, a little more time to respond,
or do we have… many responses yet? Okay, so, let’s see. The areas of strength. So, personal knowledge of race issues, developing goals and policies with
an equity lens, knowing district demographics,
those are all the most commonly cited strengths. To make strong equity commitment,
being data-informed. Not surprisingly, not many folks mentioned changing school budgets to prevent disparities. That’s a really tough one. I’m
not surprised that that’s an area that not many people listed as
a strength yet. So, this is really helpful. We
have another poll. Which is, which strategy do you
feel is a current area of growth or need for your school board? So, it’s the same set of strategies, but now, where do you think you
really want to work next? Which of these do you think is an area where you could spend some time
productively? Alright. So, here, a little more unanimity. Initiate and create structural
changes to support equity is a place that almost half of
the respondents thought was an area for growth,
which is great. It’s a great place to focus, and
thank you all for sharing that. Alright. So, I wanted to open it
up to a little bit of discussion. Cora, I don’t know if we can put
those results back up. Maybe we can’t. Oh, perfect. So, what do you notice about the responses, in terms of strategies that were
identified as growth – as areas of assets and growth? I think we had an area of growth as initiating and creating structural
changes to support equity. Maybe just starting with that one, how easy or difficult would it
be to implement that? Is that something that folks who
selected that think that you’re ready to address? Feel free to either type, and we
can read them, or unmute – you should be unmuted,
or you should – if you’ll unmute yourself, just
go ahead and share verbally. Are there things missing from this list? When you started down the road of, here’s some strategies for school
board members, were there things that you expected
to hear that aren’t listed? PARTICIPANT: I think the main thing is trying to figure out which structural changes we should initiate that will move the needle. There’s a lot of work that people
do every day. So, I don’t know that there’s necessarily
a hesitancy to do things. It’s more just a want to really
focus on the things that will make an impact, and to me, it’s difficult to figure out what
those things are. LESLIE: So, do any of these things
resonate with you? PARTICIPANT: Yeah, I mean, we’re
doing a lot of them. And I think there’s a willingness in our school district to try to
all sorts of things. The difficulty has been in measurement and in understanding what’s really helping. You know, is the juice worth the squeeze? Is that a better use of our time than this other thing that we might want to try? People just have a limited amount
of time and resources. So, we could throw everything at the wall and try everything, but then everybody
would be exhausted. So, to me, it would be better to
have almost like a Hattie’s list that says, if you do these things,
this moves the needle this much. But I don’t know that that exists. LESLIE: And do you have a sense
of how much the needle would need to move in order for
the district to feel comfortable that it’s moving in the right direction? PARTICIPANT: Yeah, we have some
data that we’re tracking that’s crosstabs based on race and gender
and poverty and all those things. And tracking that year-over-year,
and have goals for each year for where it should be to get closer
to equity, and to have 80% achievement across the district
and things like that. But we can track all the numbers
and we can do all sorts of things. It just feels like I don’t know
all the drivers will lead to the outcomes that we want. It’d be easy if we could just say,
well, we flipped this switch and this switch, and then spend
that money, and then it’s all set. LESLIE: Right.
PARTICIPANT: It just seems like a lot of guesswork. LESLIE: Well, that’s one of the
advantages to being on this webinar is hopefully, some folks who are on this call can share some strategies that
they’ve pursued that seem to be bearing some fruit. I’m wondering if anyone has any
examples they could share. JEANINE: We do have a couple of
responses in the chat box of work that’s been going on. We say that – let’s see, Jennifer,
yeah, as Dan said, she’s in a small district, and
structural changes are down the road. They have to get that baseline
understanding of race and – race issues within the district,
so, getting that foundation before you can move ahead is probably
a challenge there. DAN: And it’s definitely critical. JEANINE: And also, Kathleen mentioned, again, that they are looking at data there,
and doing interview processes to see what else they could do
to help increase equity. So, Kathleen, if you can kind of chat, I think Dan asked, too, what are
you interviewing? Is it like, the hiring interview process? Or are you interviewing different
people across your district? Stakeholders understand what some
of the challenges may be? So, she says, yes, it’s with her
stakeholders, especially, they’re Black and Albanian communities
to really kind of get a sense of what some of the
challenges and the experiences, I’m assuming, of those community
members are in the district. So, thank you, Kathleen. DAN: That’s an important step. Others have reactions, responses? Strategies they’ve used that they’d
like to share? We’ll be talking more in a bit. Alright, Alisha, should we move on? Thank you, all. ALISHA: And so, now that you’ve
been on this webinar, we want you to be thinking about the next steps
for your school board. What is it that you can do, both
in the immediate and long-term, to help close some
of the opportunity and achievement gaps that exist
in your district? So, in the chat box, I have included
a link to these questions. And what we would like you to do
is have you respond there. And when you are done, click submit, and then I will pull all of the
responses together and we’ll have a little bit of
a discussion. But the questions are, what do
you think that your board could do in the next week to improve educational outcomes among Black students and close
opportunity and achievement gaps? And then, what can you do in six
weeks, six months, and in a year? And in your view, who needs to
be involved to make improvements? So, we’ll take about four to five
minutes to respond, and then I will pull everything together. LESLIE: I’m going to go ahead and
move the slides back to the list of strategies, just to help refresh everyone’s memory what those are. And obviously, you don’t have to
select any of these strategies. But to the extent that they resonate
with you, please do. ALISHA: We have a very immediate
action tonight. Shauna’s hosting a board development
meeting tonight on equity, diversity and inclusion. LESLIE: Yes, another example we
heard during the in-person training, some folks were planning to use
the PowerPoint presentation that we had given to present to
their board the following week. And these slides will be made available to you. ALISHA: So, we’ll take one more
minute to respond, and then, we can move on to our discussion. DAN: Are people able to access the survey – the [01:08:10 unintelligible] search survey? Any trouble with that? Alright, so, let’s – while folks
still continue to add to the survey should feel
free to do so. Let’s have another discussion before we move on to the results from the survey. Two questions: which actions do you think your board might implement, and why? And who needs to be involved in efforts to improve outcomes and close gaps
in the district? And maybe let’s start with the
second question, who needs to be involved? Something we haven’t talked a lot
about this afternoon. But for your particular district,
your individual districts, who else do you need to involve? To what extent are your other board
members where you are? Do you need to do work with the
rest of your board or superintendent? Are there particular stakeholder groups that you know you need to reach out to? Okay. Board and administration;
board is very in sync. That’s great. Not that that makes it easy, but the opposite makes it almost impossible. Again, feel free to unmute yourself. You should be unmuted, but you may have to unmute your phone or unmute, as well. Other responses? Here we go, an equity plan with
specific goals. Need to begin taking deeper action on them, especially around equity-based budgeting, and being more aggressive in hiring for staff. Additionally, investing in more diverse curriculum instruction vehicles. Great. Does everyone know where the –
it’s hard when you’re typing, but if you can, say a bit more
about how you developed your equity plan, and arrived at
your specific goals. I think that may be a challenge
for some folks who may feel the need to do this, but getting started is often the
hardest part. And thinking about, well, what
are we going to put into our plan, and what specific goals can we
put in, at least initially, that are specific, measurable,
achievable, et cetera. For others who have done that,
feel free to chime in. LESLIE: Yeah, I was going to say, Dan, that for those that have developed
an equity plan, it would even be helpful to note
how long that took. We know from Janesville that they’ve
been working on this for ten years, not that it took
them ten years to develop an equity plan, but to give folks
a sense of what it – the amount of time it takes and
what the level of commitment might be, it could help set expectations
appropriately. I also wanted to take the group
back to some of the slides we shared earlier about the opportunity gap. And just remind everyone of the
various ways in which there can be some real disparities
in the opportunities that are made available to students, either depending on school they
attend, or even within the school. And just reminding folks – and
I did want to also mention that, in one of the in-person trainings
we conducted, we heard about – we have already talked a little
bit about Janesville and the issue with the being able
to take textbooks home. But we also heard from another
district where the dress code policy, they realized, was unfair, and it was disproportionately directed
at students of color, who wore their hair a certain way,
or wore particular colors, or a type of clothing, and they
often were disciplined for that. And the question to the district was, well, what was the revision to that policy? And they said, well, basically,
it came down to, you must wear clothes; you must
cover your private parts. And that was about the extent of it. But again, they realized that they
had put in place a number of rules and regulations
that worked against certain groups of students, and
that those students were disproportionately disciplined,
either by suspension or – I don’t know if expulsion ever occurred. But their opportunity to attend
school was compromised. DAN: We have a couple of links in the chat for folks to take a look at. ALISHA: I can also share the results.
/ DAN: Thank you. Alright, go for it, Alisha.
ALISHA: Yeah. So, I think it might be easy just
to talk through. So, for next week, it looks like
some districts have work in progress that they’re
looking forward to moving some strategies forward. And feel free to add in the chat
box if you would like to elaborate. Another district wrote that they
were going to work on becoming data informed in the next week, and understanding the demographics. For six weeks, talking to the administration
about targeting families and I guess bringing families into
the district and engaging them. Another district wrote, expanding
personal knowledge and understanding of race issues. Another person said that later this summer, we’ll get student achievement and
discipline data, broken out by district demographics and schools, and see if we’re meeting or missing
stated goals for the year. And then, the longer term, so six months, there’s someone who said, know
what it would take to have a place for medical and
counseling in the schools. So, again, this is another way
to engage families who may not come into schools,
or may need other supports that go beyond sort of what we traditionally
think of schools providing. Talking to and educating stakeholders
in district and community. Sharing the district equity plan
with the mayor and city council. And I guess this district also launched a citywide equity and diversity commission. So, I think, you know, continuing
that strategy. And then, finally, in one year,
investing in moving counseling and health care into schools, making
sure we are in constant contact with minority families
and asking them for feedback. Another person wrote, using equity
lens to implement policy. And another person wrote, recruiting
more diverse staff. LESLIE: So, unless folks have other
things they’d like to share, we’re going to wrap up the webinar. I did want to throw out there,
if anyone has a question that they were hoping this webinar
could answer, by all means, mention it in the chat box. We’ll hang on for a few more minutes. Or if there’s information that
you would like, we could certainly try and respond
to those sorts of questions. Okay, well, I’m not seeing any
questions pop up in the chat box. I just wanted to thank everyone
for joining us. And you’ll see in the chat box
that there’s a quick five minute feedback survey that we’re hoping you can complete once we end the webinar. Also, there will be a recording
of the webinar available at this website, and we just want
to thank you for joining us. Again, I’m Leslie Anderson. Dan Aladjem, Jeanine Hildreth and
Alisha Butler were our presenters this afternoon. And I also wanted to just make
sure you knew about the references that were used to put this training together. But also, these are available,
and we would urge you to take advantage of some of these resources. So, thank you very much for joining.

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