Equity Update: ACPS Climate Survey and Equity Dashboard

In June 2021, students in grades 6-12, staff members and families had the opportunity to share their views in the school division’s first equity climate survey. Nearly 5,000 ACPS stakeholders participated in the survey, which gathered vital feedback to help identify critical areas for improvement related to the ACPS 2025: Equity For All Strategic Plan.

“We are pleased to hear so many voices in the first Equity Climate Survey. This feedback strengthens our equity work and will serve as a benchmark to build upon as we continue to learn and grow toward fulfilling the goals in our strategic plan,” said Chief of Accountability and Research Dr. Clinton Page.

The survey focused on eight main themes: school climate, instruction and learning, teachers and instructional climate, equity, restorative practices, social-emotional environment and supports, family engagement, and staff professional environment. Key areas of strength include:

  • Most families, staff, and students have positive perceptions of the learning environment, teachers, and school climate overall. 81% of students report that they feel welcome at school, 76% say they are encouraged to participate in learning, and 88% agree that teachers provide extra support when needed.
  • Families also report positive impressions of the social-emotional environment and support at their school. In particular, 79% of families say that adults at school care about all students, and the majority also agree that staff knows how to connect students with supports and help students with problems other than schoolwork.
  • Staff have especially positive perceptions of their relationships with both students and other staff at their school. Nearly all staff agree they have positive relationships with students (98%) and other staff (92%); 70% of staff members agree that technology access is equitable. These high levels of agreement are not common across national data and underscore the efforts of leadership and staff in ACPS in this area.

Survey results indicate opportunities to continue addressing inequities across the division, with areas of continued focus including the use of restorative practices, distributing resources equitably across all schools, and ensuring all student, staff and parent feedback is heard and valued in decision-making processes.

The equity climate survey is part of ACPS’ ongoing action to address racial inequities and remove barriers to learning for all students. Another vital tool is the ACPS Equity for All 2025 Dashboard, which was recently updated with data on academic and behavioral outcomes, as well as access to programs, for student groups within the school division. This dashboard, which will be updated twice a year going forward, demonstrates progress made on key performance indicators from the strategic plan with a focus on disparities across student groups. More details on how ACPS uses the dashboard as a monitoring tool are available in an Oct. 22, 2021 Board Brief.

Data from the survey and the dashboard are used to inform school and department improvement efforts each year, and the 2021 survey will serve as a baseline for future surveys.