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Equity Innovator Recognition Program

Midwest & Plains Equity Assistance Center
Equity Innovator Recognition Program

Equity Innovator Recognition Program showcases local and state education agencies that have engaged in systemic equity partnership with the Midwest & Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) and demonstrate system-wide transformation towards educational equity. The Midwest & Plains Equity Assistance Center seeks to select one systemic partner to receive the Equity Innovator recognition. Each year, we invite current and former Tier III Equity Systemic Partners whose partnership with the center contributed to systemic change towards educational equity to apply for the Equity Innovator recognition. The recipient of the Equity Innovator exemplifies how equity-focused innovations are leveraged to expand systems’ capacities to provide robust, effective opportunities to learn for all students; and ensure student access to and participation in safe, inclusive, high-quality education regardless of and responsive to race, sex/gender, national origin, and religion (King Thorius, Maxcy, & Nguyên, 2011). Honorees present at a special recognition luncheon during the Equity Leaders Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana, and receive an honorarium for their participation. Their agency is also featured in a partner profile that will be disseminated throughout the center's region and posted on the center's website. 



2019 MAP Center Equity Innovator: Ferndale Public Schools

The Ferndale Public Schools team poses with the Equity Innovator recognition sculpture with Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center staff during Equity Leaders Institute (L-R Erin Sanborn, Anna Ibrahim, Ruthie Payno-Simmons, Seena Skelton, Dania Bazzi, Dina Rocheleau, Sandra Dukhie, Tiffany Kyser, Kathleen King Thorius).

Ferndale Public Schools was selected for the 2019 MAP Center Equity Innovator recognition because of their work around increasing the capacity of school board members and district administrators to lead equity initiatives.  In collaboration with the MAP Center, school board members and district leadership created an equity vision and used that vision to inform the goals and objectives of the district’s strategic plan.   Work with the MAP Center has gone far beyond the strategic plan, directly affecting district policy and practices to address disproportionality, such as more equity-focused selection criteria for advanced placement classes, as well as eliminating discriminatory aspects of the dress code.

Ferndale Public Schools has invested considerable time and effort in district leaders’ and building administrators’ capacities around equity and the consideration of how the district and school board can work together toward their equity vision for the district. As the theme of this year’s Equity Leaders Institute was school policy and governance, with an emphasis on school boards, Ferndale Public Schools was selected to receive the Equity Innovator recognition for their significant work in this area.

In September 2019, Ferndale Public Schools was recognized at a luncheon on day one of Equity Leaders Institute. Ferndale Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dania Bazzi and School Board Member Sandra Dukhie accepted the Equity Innovator recognition sculpture and delivered a presentation about the equity initiatives at Ferndale and the district’s collaborative work with the MAP Center. Dr. Patrick Rice, the Equity Director at Illinois Association of School Boards, provided the keynote address. MAP Center Technical Assistance Specialist Dr. Ruthie Payno-Simmons provided introductions and a brief partnership summary.

Congratulations Ferndale Public Schools, the MAP Center 2019 Equity Innovator!