ACPS will be conducting equity audits at all schools this spring to assess how well we are serving all our students and work out how we may be able to better serve them in the future.
Students and staff will be asked to give their views on how well schools are designing, implementing and assessing equitable practices that serve all students.
The audit will create opportunities to reflect on areas of strength, as well as, areas in need of improvement related to the school environment and instruction. The results of the audit will also be used in the development of school and department improvement plans for the coming school year.
Focusing on creating equitable learning environments benefits every child. It also means providing supports to meet the students where they are and not necessarily where we want them to be.
The audits will start with assessing staff and student views of school practices and expand to include parents and Central Office departments next spring.
What is Equity?
Equity can be defined as empowering students, families and staff by building relationships and nurturing the capability to collectively remove barriers that prevent students from achieving their aspirations. Equity is essential as the foundation to success. If we ensure all students have equitable access to opportunities and supports, we also ensure they have a greater chance to succeed in life.
Equity is about knocking down barriers. Sometimes that means changing the way we teach, respond to and support students of every learning ability level. It also means providing students with acceleration and advanced level work without lowering the standards to increase diversity; but rather, raising the academic bar for all. Equity means that we serve all students at the highest levels regardless of special needs, gifted services, socioeconomic status, language levels or challenging obstacles in life.
What is an Equity Audit?
An equity audit is a tool for educators and leaders to ensure that each student has access to high quality, relevant and engaging instruction. Equity audits assess the perspectives of stakeholders to including but not limited to school-based instructional staff, students, families and community members. For this year’s equity audit, ACPS will administer a survey to students in grades 3-12 and instructional staff and administrators at each school.
Why is ACPS Conducting an Equity Audit?
Thought, experience, language, ethnicity, race, socioeconomics, and culture are just a few examples of the rich diversity in Alexandria. The ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan challenges us to address the factors that are within our control which result in the predictability of achievement based on aspects such as race and poverty.
ACPS is engaging in an equity audit to:
- Assess how well schools are designing, implementing and assessing equitable practices.
- Create an opportunity to reflect on areas of strength, as well as, areas in need of improvement related to the school environment and instruction.
- Use equity audit data to develop school and department improvement plans.
Focusing on creating equitable learning environments benefits every child. It means providing supports to meet the students where they are and not necessarily where we want them to be.
What Will ACPS Gain From Conducting an Equity Audit?
The equity audit will be the foundation for organizational improvement that is based on the perspectives and experiences of each stakeholder group. The information gathered will allow ACPS to:
- Empower the voices of our students, staff and community.
- Support a positive school culture and climate.
- Solicit a diverse perspective indicative of our schools and school community.
- Provide opportunities to strengthen relationships with students, staff and the entire school community.
When Will I Have an Opportunity to Share My Thoughts?
Between the end of April and the beginning of May 2019, the first round of equity audits will be administered to students in grades 3-12 and school based instructional staff. Future equity audits will focus on parents and community members. This year we will use the feedback from families through the FACE Survey to compliment the equity audit findings.
Who do I Contact if I Have Questions?
Please contact the Department of Student Services, Alternative Programs and Equity if you have any questions. We can be reached at 703-619-8034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.