Naperville Community Unit School District 203 is one of Illinois’ largest and highest-performing school districts, serving more than 16,000 students. Naperville sought TA for equity-focused professional learning experiences in order to build the capacity of their educators to advance educational equity. Naperville Community Unit School District 203 is the 2022 Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center’s Equity Innovator Recipient.
TA Partners in Action!
TA Partners in Action! is a series that highlights successful partnerships at the local and state level. This series examines the nature and breadth of the technical assistance the MAP Center provided to these partners. The purpose of the series is to provide an example of how potential partners can work with the MAP Center to define and pursue the equity goals for their organization.
Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy: 2021 Equity Innovator
The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) is a public, magnet, residential high school concentrating its curriculum on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for students in grades 10-12. It was established by the Illinois General Assembly in 1985 and has since been considered the top standardized test performing secondary school in Illinois and one of the top nationally. Illinois students who meet the school’s admissions policies can attend. The Illinois General Assembly authorized IMSA to accept tuition-paying, non-Illinois students beginning the 2022-2023 academic year, as well as 9th graders to increase the school’s revenue and offset its reliance solely on state funding.
IMSA sought TA for implementing the 2017 board approved Equity and Excellence Policy that signaled 7 key mandates the school was to engage. The Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center provided the (IMSA with equity-focused professional learnings to build the capacity to advance educational equity. Through the Equity Context Analysis Process (ECAP) the MAP Center assisted IMSA in a data collection process that informed the development of the plan that operationalized IMSA’s Equity and Excellence Policy. This process included a data meaning-making session, which allowed IMSA to take an intricate look into the inequities that exist within the community, ultimately serving as the rationale for the sixteen Equity and Excellence Plan strategies. In addition, the MAP center provided resources to assist in both implementing and evaluating the plan.
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.
Michigan Department of Education: Building Organizational Capacity
The overall focus of the technical assistance the MAP Center provided to Michigan Department of Education (MDE) was to provide thought partnership in order to ensure more equitable policies and practices for all public school students within the state of Michigan. MAP Center leadership and staff provided thought partnership, research, and practice-based information to MDE related to the design and implementation of a state-wide approach to advance educational equity. The MAP Center provided research-based and practice-informed documents, equity tools, and resources related to ensuring educational equity in state agency policies and practices, data analysis, and data usage.
Minnesota Department of Education: Achievement Integration Program
The state of Minnesota has approximately 500 public school districts and over 2,000 public schools with a demographic composition of 66.5% White, 11.0% Black or African-American, 9.3% Latinx, 6.8% Asian, 1.6% American Indian, and 4.7% two or more races. There was an increase of students of Color in suburban areas, but not corresponding racial and socioeconomic integration statewide. The Office of Equity and Innovation at Minnesota Department of Education (MNDOE) requested technical assistance from the MAP Center in order to address the federal priority of race and the U.S. Department of Education’s emphasis on Socioeconomic Integration and Minnesota legislation.MAP Center staff acted as thought partners and critical friends to support the MNDOE Office of Equity and Innovation in the development, execution, and evaluation of the Achievement Integration plan, as well as to support the development of the Educator Effectiveness grant rubric and associated training materials for grantees. In this video, Pam Booker and Anne Parks from the Minnesota Department of Education discuss how they have worked with the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center as a part of the department's Achievement Integration program, providing technical assistance through this multi-year, evolving state education agency partnership.
Ferndale Public Schools: MAP Center 2019 Equity Innovator
The city of Ferndale is a predominantly white inner-ring suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Ferndale Public Schools (FPS) has a history of challenging desegregation efforts and was under a desegregation order until 1995. FPS received technical assistance (TA) at the Center’s top tier (Tier III) of services for 2 years. The overall focus of the technical assistance provided to LCS was to build the capacity of school board members to develop and support an equity-centered strategic plan. Given that the partnership activities have resulted in the development of a district equity vision and core definitions that informed the development of the district’s strategic plan, MAP Center technical assistance had the potential to affect every student (approximately 3,000) and staff (approximately 243) in the district. This partnership illustrates the importance of an intentional focus on building the capacity of school board members alongside district-level administrators in order to enact transformational change toward equity.
Lebanon City Schools: Fighting Discrimination & Harassment
Lebanon City Schools is situated 30 miles north of Cincinnati and 30 miles south of Dayton in a county that is experiencing significant population growth and changes in economic, racial, and ethnic demographics. Lebanon City Schools (LCS) entered into a Resolution Agreement with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in August 2017 resulting from an investigation of racial harassment prompted by a complaint filed by parents of a Black student. LCS requested technical assistance from the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) to promote “racial sensitivity” and to address race-based harassment. LCS received technical assistance at the MAP Center’s top tier (Tier III) of services for 3 years. As a result of partnership, Lebanon City Schools defined four district equity goals and 21 strategic actions that will affect school and district level policies, redressing discriminatory structures and practices, as well as the development of a 3-year comprehensive district-wide professional development and monitoring plan. The technical assistance provided to the district has the potential to impact each of the district’s five schools, with an estimated 500 adults and 5,483 students.