DEIJ: Equity Centered Capacity Building

Achievement Gap. Understanding this principle problem of practice, the school principal must work to close the gap by providing resources, instructional strategies, and engagement in a quality education for every student. 

Equity Practices of Effective Instructional Leaders. Effective educational management, in pursuit of equity, involves supporting a vision and mission of a learning-focused culture where every student can succeed; includes the continual revision and improvement of instructional practice; equity based teaching requires an assessment and possible re-allocation of instructional resources (including teachers) so that all students get an equitable opportunity; equity based instruction and leadership further requires the management of systems and processes that are fair for all students and understand differences between perspective, culture, achievement, and capacity so that all students are supported in their success. 

Building Capacity of Principals for Equity-Centered Instruction. It should be non-negotiable to envision every student as successful. Educational leaders should continually work for the improvement of instruction for all students. This drives a school torwad results based learning that values differentiation and diversity in assessment and instruction; administrators can lead for equity and make choices to get all students both support and access. 

All educators (and students too) should engage in self-reflection by asking critical questions about their experience and the experience of others. Most importantly, are students being served with equity and equality? If not, what needs to change to achieve equity and equality? 

A school is in itself a community of practice. How that community is organized and how it functions changes the dialogue. Teachers can support each other by sharing stories and exchanging perspectives. This can provide personal, professional, and emotional support. 

Part of the community of practice includes embedding equitable based practices and learning in to the job. Professional development in support of equity based instruction can be paired with targeted feedback, the facilitation of change for instructional systems, and the continued persistence that every student deserves quality education. 

Part of getting each student an equitable and quality education means the facilitation of differentiation. This extends to the support given to teachers as well. Professional development for a teacher can come in a variety of formats from the presentation of information to one-on-one coaching. 

Far too often I have heard (I have even thought) that a student is just not able to achieve further. Rather, in an equitable instructional setting, this should not be the case. The educators are responsible for helping every student achieve further. That being said, there are real barriers to continued support with limited resources (both physical and human).
Planned Use. I see equity based instruction as a mindset – one that every teacher and administrator should embrace. It is from that mindset that a mission and vision for equity can be set. Working towards equity, there will always be more to achieve. As an administrator I can support reflection. I can use data to identify trends of inequity and effective practice. I can embed questions of equity and diversity in teacher appraisal and coaching. I can, very importantly, reflect on and use the inquiry cycle to change my practices. The biases that I bring to the classroom and administration may be hard to change – it is only through intentional change and the choice to fight against these biases that I can make an important difference in the equity that every student deserves.

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