Community Unit School District 308: Building Leadership Capacity & Empowering Students Toward Equity
One of the fastest-growing school districts in Illinois, Community Unit School District 308 (SD 308) is the seventh-largest of Illinois’ 868 public school districts with an enrollment of over 18,000 students, and they continue to grow each year! Student enrollment has nearly doubled over the last 10 years, and SD 308 has become one of the most diverse in Illinois—currently comprised of approximately 40 percent students of Color and with more than 80 languages spoken. The overall focus of the technical assistance the MAP Center provided to SD 308 was to increase engagement of students, refine and implement the district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, and advance the capacity of selected school leaders to engage in equity-focused school and classroom practices. SD 308 received technical assistance at the Center’s top tier (Tier III) of services for three years. Having met the collaboratively defined goals document on their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2020, SD 308 closed their Tier III partnership with the Center. They continue to receive less intensive supports as Tier II partners. Given that the partnership activities have resulted in the refinement and implementation of the district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, MAP Center technical assistance has had the potential to affect every student (approximately 18,000) and staff (approximately 2,330) in the district. This partnership illustrates the importance of an intentional focus on advancing the capacity of school leaders to engage in equity-focused school and classroom practices alongside the engagement, involvement, and empowerment of students--particularly those holding one or more non-dominant identities--in district equity efforts to enact transformational change toward equity.