Project: Year 7 2018–2019

Equity Dialogues: Increasing Opportunities to Improve Outcomes for Students

As states implement their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans, the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is focusing on building the knowledge and skills of agency staff to support implementation of equity strategies by local education agencies (LEAs). The SECC is providing technical assistance, facilitation, and training to support this process in the area of equitable access.

Technical Assistance Approach

The SECC is serving as a thought partner in assisting states in identifying strategies to support effective use of equitable practices with LEAs to improve implementation of ESSA plans.

Impact
  • Increased knowledge and skills in states to support implementation of ESSA plans in districts and schools 
  • Increased organizational structures and processes in states to identify gaps in services to LEAs to support equitable practices and continuous improvement processes

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: 2018 | December

During early December, the Equity Dialogues Team leads disseminated “The Triple Whammy of Economic Disadvantage” paper by plenary speaker, Dr. James Johnson and nine questions to stimulate equity summit participants’ strategic thinking about disruptive demographics. In addition, the team disseminated a reminder to summit participants to complete the summit surveys. During mid- and late-December, state liaisons reviewed equity teams’ draft equity plans and, in some cases, convened a second meeting with state teams to advance the planning process. At the end of December, a second email was disseminated to offer participants access to the summit presentations and other event artifacts, including photos, presenter bios, and Day 1 and Day 2 surveys on the Equity Summit event site.

In January 2019, participants will each receive personalized equity leadership certificates and the recently published AIR book, Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting Students. In addition, post-summit state meetings will take place in support of the development and initial implementation of equity plans.

As evidence of impact, Equity Summit Day 1 and Day 2 surveys indicated a strong level of engagement, great satisfaction with the summit offerings, and participants’ clear commitment to advancing educational equity. Three of the seven participating states have requested guidance for planning and convening state-specific equity summits. As reflected in state equity draft plans, state teams have given substantial consideration to their state equity plans, and a number of the states have begun to leverage exiting equity initiatives to advance goals set during the state summit planning.

 

Previous Updates:

During early December, the Equity Dialogues Team leads disseminated “The Triple Whammy of Economic Disadvantage” paper by plenary speaker, Dr. James Johnson and nine questions to stimulate equity summit participants’ strategic thinking about disruptive demographics. In addition, the team disseminated a reminder to summit participants to complete the summit surveys. During mid- and late-December, state liaisons reviewed equity teams’ draft equity plans and, in some cases, convened a second meeting with state teams to advance the planning process. At the end of December, a second email was disseminated to offer participants access to the summit presentations and other event artifacts, including photos, presenter bios, and Day 1 and Day 2 surveys on the Equity Summit event site.

In January 2019, participants will each receive personalized equity leadership certificates and the recently published AIR book, Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting Students. In addition, post-summit state meetings will take place in support of the development and initial implementation of equity plans.

As evidence of impact, Equity Summit Day 1 and Day 2 surveys indicated a strong level of engagement, great satisfaction with the summit offerings, and participants’ clear commitment to advancing educational equity. Three of the seven participating states have requested guidance for planning and convening state-specific equity summits. As reflected in state equity draft plans, state teams have given substantial consideration to their state equity plans, and a number of the states have begun to leverage exiting equity initiatives to advance goals set during the state summit planning.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) hosted an equity summit to meet the equity-related needs of the five states in the SECC region and other invited states. The participating states were Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan. On November 25–28, SECC hosted 10 equity champions (including a state superintendent, an instructional review coach, a recruiter, and a director of secondary schools) in the Civil Rights Learning Journey and a number of other participants in alternate pre-summit activities such as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians community tour, a historical tour of Jackson State University, and a tour of two Museums–the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History. Based on these pre-summit activities, participants investigated the local, immediate, and historic significance of various civil rights events and sites of discrimination and trauma to educational equity. On November the 29–30, participants took part in the SECC Equity Summit–Accountable Leadership: Opportunities for Equitable Leadership. Over 100 attendees, including state superintendents and their designees, district superintendents and other personnel, policymakers, as well as school and community members, engaged in plenary, concurrent, and strategy sessions to advance equity via their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans and other equity-related initiatives, plans, and policies.

State teams are set to convene virtually one state team at a time between December and January. During the initial meeting, each team will revisit and refine the Collection Ambition Equity Plan using the geographic information system (GIS) map of their states and the information it yields.

States were slow to identify five-member teams. In one case, the state was unavailable to participate due to an unanticipated mandatory meeting.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) has invited state education agency (SEA) leadership in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to participate in the SECC Equity Summit–Accountable Leadership: Opportunities for Equitable Systems and related pre-summit activities during late November 2018. They have been asked to identify state teams (consisting of two SEA representatives (with one of the two serving as a state equity champion), one local education agency (LEA) representative, one school-level representative, and one community representative) committed to examining their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans and other state plans to identify areas of need pertinent to equity. 

There are a number of pre-summit activities that will take place, November 25–28, 2018, to include the Civil Rights Learning Journey; Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians tour, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Mississippi Museum of Art visit, historic site visit of Jackson State University campus, and a networking reception. The equity summit will take place on November 29–30, 2018, in Jackson, Mississippi.