Equity: Closing the Achievement Gap

  •  Achievement and Integration Plan

    Race and socioeconomic status should not be predictors of a student’s academic achievement level. Columbia Heights is dedicated to closing the achievement gap that unfortunately exists at this time in our country. As a district, we seek to insure that all students realize academic success in our schools. Columbia Heights Public Schools has worked with the Harvard Achievement Gap Initiative, a rich source of information on this topic, to learn how to best achieve equity and excellence in our district. 

    District Equity Plan

    Key Strategies

    District/Building Level Equity Leadership

    • District Equity Leadership Council (DELC) includes members of administration, community, and teaching staff from building equity teams. The DELC sets expectations, monitors implementation of equity plan, and evaluates results. In addition, the DELC provides support to building equity teams through facilitating communication and sharing of resources.

    • Building Equity Leadership Teams (BELT) are advocates for personal, professional, and program improvements that will close the achievement gap and develop positive relationships across race. BELT members will help guide the DELC approved plans through their communication with staff, analysis of school-wide data, and professional discussions.

    Culturally Competent Staff

    • Strategies for developing culturally competent staff will focus on personal and professional growth. Strategies for promoting personal growth will focus on three trainings through WMEP: Beyond Diversity, What is Culture and What is Behavior (Dr. Bravada Akinsanya) and Heather Hackman's three day training on racial justice. All newly hired licensed staff will be required to complete Beyond Diversity or a similar program. District/buildings will schedule What is Culture and What is Behavior. Equity leaders will be required to complete Heather Hackman's training.

    • Professional training will focus on closing the achievement gap through training teams of teachers to use data from formative assessments to significantly increase mastery learning among all students. Professional training will also focus on improving student engagement through 21st century learning as defined by Partnership 21. This will include classroom embedded training as well as district-wide information sessions. 

    Culturally Relevant Curriculum

    • All curriculum writing teams will be trained in how to develop culturally relevant instructional units. Expectations are in place that all curriculum development include cultural relevancy as an essential component of the process. Outside experts will be consulted for identification of worthy goals, potential materials, and quality control.

    Family Involvement

    • All schools will offer high quality family involvement programs. This will include the use of REACH (parent education program), family events with embedded training, opportunities to participate in school activities and leadership, and clear communication expectations for all staff. Specific focus will be placed on improving parent involvement among CIY and resident African American families. This will include the use of secondary liaisons, outreach programs, and home visits.

    Equity Evaluation

    • Evaluation of the amount of annual progress made in realizing inter-district integration goals will include the following measures:
    • MCA data: Measure achievement levels of CIY and all students of color; measure impact on achievement gap between white and students of color
    • Grade reports: Measure failure rate improvement among students of color
    • Graduation rate: Measure improvement of graduation rate among students of color
    • Personal/Professional Growth: Percent of teachers completing program; equity walkthroughs; classroom data
    • Curriculum Development: Percentage of courses with rubric based scoring of cultural relevancy with rating of satisfactory or above
    • Family Involvement: Percentage of parents who have completed REACH, number of parents active in a building, rubric based rating of communication data by building
    • Equity Plan Implementation: Annual report to DELC with ratings using district score cards.