Equity audit underway in St. Charles School District

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Those who want to answer a questionnaire that will be used in St. Charles School District 303′s equity audit have until Monday to complete it.

The purpose of the equity audit is to conduct a comprehensive review of the district’s practices and educational outcomes “to ensure every student has access to and participates in meaningful learning opportunities that result in positive outcomes, regardless of individual characteristics or group membership,” district officials said.

In December, board members unanimously voted to hire Chicago-based nonprofit group Consortium for Educational Change at a cost of $44,850. Staff had recommended hiring the company to do the equity audit.

“The CEC’s final report is designed to find the assets that exist within our district and look for opportunities to better serve all D-303 students,” Tracy Taylor, the district’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, told school board members during the board’s Learning and Teaching Committee meeting on April 18.

Focus groups for the audit are also under way and will continue through Monday.

“For stakeholders who are not selected to participate in a focus group but desire to share their opinions, we created that link on our website that will take interested staff, parents and middle and high school students to a questionnaire, where they can respond to the same questions that are being asked in focus groups,” Taylor said.

Information about the equity audit can be found at district.d303.org/equity-audit. Participants will only have one chance to take the questionnaire.

“They can’t submit multiple times,” Taylor said. “The data collected from the written responses will be reported on separately so we can distinguish between themes that emerged from the focus groups and the themes that may have emerged from the questionnaires.”

Student achievement data will also be analyzed as part of the audit.

“The review will include an analysis of our academic and social/emotional data to gain insight into student achievement across student groups and how the curriculum instruction and learning environment is influencing student outcomes,” Taylor said.

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, each school district in Illinois will be responsible for publicly posting their progress towards equity on their school report card utilizing an Illinois State Board of Education developed continuum.

In June, board members unanimously voted to pause its Deep Equity training until after an equity audit is completed. In March, board members voted 4-3 to use Deep Equity — a professional development program from the California-based Corwin Company – to provide professional learning to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Following three hours of comments from both proponents and opponents of the Deep Equity program, St. Charles School Board members on June 14 voted 7-0 to pause the agreement, with no penalty being incurred. They also decided that using different materials, the district will continue the training after completing an equity audit.

via Shaw Local

April 22, 2022 at 11:14PM

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