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Equity is central to education in Wisconsin because every child’s identity is unique and every child matters.

Educational equity means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need at the right moment in their education, across race, gender, ethnicity, language, ability, sexual orientation, family background, and/or family income (CCSSO, 2017).

Achieving equity demands intentionality and a bold commitment

We each carry a lifetime of exposure to societal biases about ability and potential based on gender, race, ethnicity, social class, ability, and English language proficiency along with other characteristics and labels. These assumptions, unexamined, create barriers to providing historically marginalized learners full access to high expectations, authentic connections with educators and the school environment, and rigorous coursework.

When teams uncover inequity in their data, the team actively considers whether mismatches in system structures, policies, and practices unintentionally inhibit learner success. Then, they work together with families to improve the system.

Team members boldly commit to examining the role of equity in teaching and learning. Starting with understanding their own identities, staff come to believe in the capability of every learner to achieve college and career readiness.

To guide this process, we’ve collaborated with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network to develop the Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices.

Equity leaders learn, do, and become

Individuals, teams, schools, districts, regions, and state-level stakeholders become culturally responsive along recursive, lifelong journeys. Individually, your journey is uniquely yours. As a teammate, your journey is collective.

Stakeholders use the four agreements to support conversation about their equity journey. Engaging in deep and honest examination of who they are, their beliefs and assumptions about the learners and families they serve, as well as what they value and affirm.

Seven Experiences to validate, affirm, build, and bridge home and school culture for learners

To gain a deeper understanding of diverse cultures, we recommend working through the Seven Experiences. These tangible activities help validate, affirm, build, and bridge the differences between community and school behaviors.

  1. Articles are a widely available, easily accessible way to become familiar with culturally responsive practices
  2. Book studies are an in-depth way to explore learners’ cultures
  3. Coaching and modeling are important tools for integrating systemic culturally responsive practices
  4. Conferences and workshops assist practitioners who wish to create a culturally responsive atmosphere
  5. Guest speakers are a thought-provoking way to directly learn about cultural identity
  6. Community site visits and cultural centers are open to visitors sharing cultural interests
  7. School site visits can help with cultural understanding of how to best reach learners in your own class

How do you know your system has equity in place?

  • Become self-aware
  • Examine the impact of systems, structures, policies, and practices on learners and families
  • Believe that all learners can and will achieve at high levels
  • Understand that all learners have a unique world view
  • Know and respect the communities
  • Lead, model, and advocate for equity
  • Accept the responsibility for learner success
  • Use practices, curriculum, and policies that respect the identities and cultures of learners and families served by schools

Resources for this Key System Feature