In a fight for more equitable treatment of their children in schools, Black parents/caregivers’ complaints are being dismissed as illogical and irrational. This is not true for all schools but the very fact that it reigns true in some is too much. Our educational systems need to be “fixed”, some even suggesting that they should be dismantled, or blown up. The imbalance and inequity in the educational system, disguised from some, has become blaring obvious during our pandemic. To remedy and reverse the equity challenges present within schools, all stakeholders must be actively involved in Equity Centered School Improvement. However, the duty of implementing the Equity Centered School Improvement rests heavily, although not solely, on school administrators.
How to Implement Equity Centered School Improvement.
Admittance and Acknowledgement.
As an administrator, your first step is admitting that there is a problem and acknowledging that a solution is necessary. Ignorance is not an excuse for failure. If there are avenues for you to improve student experience, learning and growth, then it is your duty to explore said avenues.
Investigation and Research.
Different schools exist under different conditions and therefore have unique problems. Before launching a campaign to improve your school and address the issues causing educational inequities that plague your system, you must first have a detailed understanding of what is going on. A comprehensive and coordinated method of collecting data (interviews, surveys, focus groups, desk audits, classroom visits) must be employed involving all stakeholders – students, parents/caregivers, teachers, staff, and community champions. As an administrator, you might find it difficult to pinpoint the root causes in your school as well as best leverage points to focus your efforts. A comprehensive and well-implemented information gathering process is necessary to guide data-informed decision making.
Development of strategies and decision making.
Developing a strategy and making decisions should be a joint effort. In choosing a solution, you must consider the views and opinions of all stakeholders. A strategy that isn’t endorsed by teachers, students, and parents is bound to fail. You need the community to implement your strategies. Therefore, it is best to ensure that they are part of the development of said strategy, making them part of the process from start to finish. Cooking up a strategy without proper discussion and debate is a recipe for apathy and disaster.
If you have gathered adequate data about the problem in your school and developed strategies with the help of all stakeholders, then implementation would be easy. However, to ensure that real improvement is achieved, clear goals and responsibilities must be outlined. In the absence of objectives and specific roles, little or no action would be taken. Apart from raising awareness and printing out posters, new rules, as well as tasks, must be set and implemented. Strategies are good, but without fully enforced and implemented actions, they are useless.
Monitoring and Evaluation.
As an administrator, you have to monitor the actions of your teachers, staff and students. Regular evaluations are necessary to ensure that your strategies and actions are making the right impact. Always keep an eye out for relapse, and do not be scared to go back to the drawing board. Equity Centered School Improvement is a colossal but necessary task. However, with the right mindset and strategy, your school would grow and develop in the right direction.
The task of implementing Equity Centered School Improvement is, to a large extent, your duty as a School Administrator. However, do not shy away from accepting help from interested parents, teachers, and student bodies. Nevertheless, be on the lookout for nuisances who would try to create chaos and derail the process. With the right focus, atmosphere, mindset, and unyielding determination, your school would be a safe and encouraging environment for all races to learn, grow, and develop.
Allison Todd is a coach and consultant with over 20 years of experience transforming small and large businesses’ operations and profitability. Whether it’s beginning, launching, or scaling a business, Allison founded her coaching and mentoring business with the hopes of helping clients conquer their fears and build confidence to take their business to the next level.