Ensuring equitable access for all students is a persistent challenge in the U.S. education system. To help address this challenge, the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) hosted an Equity Summit November 29–30, 2018, in Jackson, Mississippi, with the theme “Accountable Leadership: Opportunities for Equitable Systems.” During the Equity Summit, more than 100 educators and leaders from states in the Southeast and Midwest regions examined data on equity gaps in specific geographic areas and the role of education systems and leaders in creating more equitable opportunities and outcomes. In addition, state equity teams developed draft equity plans related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to implement in their states after the summit.
SECC is continuing this important state-based work through its regional project, Equity Dialogues: Increasing Opportunities to Improve Outcomes for Students. State teams continued to explore strategies for refining their equity plans during a new webinar series, Equity in Action, which began April 29. In the kickoff webinar, coauthors Dr. Karen Francis and Dr. David Osher from American Institutes for Research (AIR), led a discussion based on "The Centrality of Cultural Competence and Responsiveness," in Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting Students. SECC provided complimentary copies of this AIR book to the state equity teams in appreciation for their commitment and participation.