With the delivery of the final report, Dr. Khalifa’s contracted work with our district is complete. Dr. Khalifa has an established track record, both as a scholar in the field, as a leader in this particular educational speciality, and as a professor at the University of Minnesota. In addition, he worked as both a public school teacher and administrator in Detroit. His ability to marry his practical experience in the field with his research and theory is one of the reasons we chose to work with him.
He has worked with many other districts, more than 15 in Minnesota, and over 50 throughout the nation. He has more than 75 academic and scholarly publications in the most respected educational journals. We are grateful for his expertise and perspective as the district moves forward in developing our short-term and long-term equity action plans.
With regard to the equity audit itself, we are using the results as one part of our plan development. The audit does not direct our work, nor does it provide a roadmap for the district. One of the reasons we initiated the audit was because we were hearing from a small representation of the community and we wanted to better understand the broader parent, student, and staff perspectives on these issues. The audit, the results of our 50+ community feedback sessions, and our district data will be used in combination to prioritize our work. That plan will not be developed in a vacuum, but, as with much else in our district, with conversation, analysis, and input from throughout our communities.
We believe this is the right work, foundational to our students’ success as they move from our classrooms to the world beyond. This is not just our work as Eastern Carver County Schools, either. Districts throughout the Metro, and the entire state, are working to close achievement gaps and improve school climate and culture.
As a district we are invested in providing welcoming, safe, and inclusive learning environments where every student has the resources and opportunities they need to be successful. We don’t define what success looks like – that’s going to look different for each student. This isn’t about one group winning and another losing, or lowering expectations. It doesn’t mean that every student achieves the same. Iit means that where there’s a barrier in place for a student – whether they have a disability, or they’re an English language learner, for example – we as a district put systems in place to help that student overcome that barrier so they have every opportunity to achieve.
State law requires school boards to adopt a long-term, comprehensive strategic plan to support and improve teaching and learning. Known as the World’s Best Workforce, the law specifies plans must address the following five goals:
- All children are ready for school.
- All third-graders can read at grade level.
- All racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed.
- All students are ready for career and college.
- All students graduate from high school.
Educational equity is not about shaming anyone for their background or beliefs, cultural, religious, political or otherwise. It is not about forcing belief systems onto learners. It’s about our commitment to each and every learner, and their family, that when they are in our classrooms, on our playing fields, or walking our halls, that they are engaged, supported, and have the tools and education they need when they enter college, the workforce, or wherever their future takes them.
It’s about our kids. Each and every one.
FAQ about the Equity Audit
What is an equity audit?
An Equity Audit is a comprehensive research-based tool that guides districts in identifying sources of academic and disciplinary disparities. They are a way to apply research-based reforms and strategies, at the school or district-level. Instead of randomly choosing reforms, the research guides decision-making around what reforms are best, and how they should most effectively be implemented.
Why do we need one?
Through the audit, we will collect key data to better understand the factors that contribute to student achievement in Eastern Carver County Schools and to identify any areas that may contribute to differences in achievement based upon race, socioeconomic status, gender etc. The Equity Audit will allow us to understand how to improve instruction, curriculum, and school climate for all students in our district, especially those that are traditionally underserved.
How does it benefit all students?
When you improve academic achievement where there have historically been gaps, there is evidence to show that the school experience for all students is improved. It’s our belief that when every student feels welcome, safe, and included in a school environment, then that environment – from the classroom to the lunchroom to the playground or commons – is better for all our kids. Beyond that, our learners are coming of age in a world that is rapidly changing and increasingly diverse, and having the tools and resources to engage with other people whose experiences and backgrounds are different than their own will better prepare them to succeed once they leave our schools.
How much will it cost?
The district will pay $52,250 ($26,125 a year over two years) for these services, which include data collection and analysis, reports by school, district level results, and recommendations.
Why is the survey important?
The survey gathers information about how all our community members—students, parents, teachers, and administrators —feel about educational and community-related issues within our district. It will not be used to judge our community, or our schools. Rather, the survey is a research tool designed to better understand how district data aligns with public perception and experiences around equity, inclusion, and diversity in our school system. Survey results will provide baseline data for the district.
How did they get my email?
Dr. Khalifa is working under contract of the District, and as such was provided emails to conduct his work. These emails are part of district directory information.
Who sees my responses?
The survey is anonymous, and data provided back to the district will be aggregated, and not tied to any specific person. Only one response is allowed per email to protect the integrity of the results.
Will I get to see the results?
Yes. The district will be posting results from the audit on its website in late summer/early fall.
Who is Dr. Khalifa?
Dr. Muhammad Khalifa is a nationally-recognized scholar and leader in research and training around culturally-responsive school leadership practices. He is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities’ College of Education and Human Development. He is also the CEO of Ajusted Equity Solutions, through which the district is contracting his work. The Culturally Responsive School Leadership Institute, which is doing professional development work with the district, is under the umbrella of Ajusted Equity Solutions. The company has done equity audits for other districts in Minnesota and across the country.
What else is Dr. Khalifa doing for the district beyond the audit?
District leadership, including the superintendent’s cabinet, building administrators, deans, and department managers will be participating in the Culturally Responsive School Leadership Institute, led by a team of educators including Dr. Khalifa. There are no plans for him to work with staff, schools or students at this time.
You can view Dr. Khalifa’s presentation at the May 20 School Board meeting here. He starts roughly four minutes into the video.