Equity Audit

In the spring of 2019, Eastern Carver County Schools contracted with Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, CEO of Adjusted School Equity Solutions and professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Minnesota, to conduct an Equity Audit of the district.  The Equity Audit will provide strategies and recommendations for the district to consider as we work to improve instruction, curriculum, and school climate for all students in our district, especially those that are traditionally underserved.  The process included surveys, research and literature review, and analysis of district policies and practices.

At its September 9 meeting, the School Board heard from Dr. Muhammad Khalifa, who conducted an equity audit of the school district. Dr. Khalifa presented his summary report, which identified eight focus areas. The report includes recommendations for curricular and professional development, as well as strategies to increase student and community engagement.

You can view Dr. Khalifa’s presentation here

The summary report can be downloaded here

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.