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Academic Equity: School/District Resources

Topics: Equitable Approaches | Equitable Instructional Practices | STEM Equity Resources

Equitable Approaches

Pennsylvania Multi-Tiered System of Support
Pennsylvania's Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a standards-aligned, comprehensive school improvement  framework for enhancing academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes for  all students. Cross-disciplinary teams represented at the district, school, grade, and individual levels use a problem-solving process to integrate evidence-based academic, behavioral, and social-emotional practices matched to student needs and with fidelity of implementation. A continuum of supports and services exists at all Tiers and is undergirded by high-quality professional learning, cultural responsivity, partnership and meaningful involvement with families, and dynamic decision-making that rests on the use of reliable and valid data sources. Sustainability (transformational change) is the ultimate implementation goal of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) and is very much contingent upon Leadership, Organization and Competency.

Do Wisconsin Schools Implementing Integrated Academic and Behavior Support Framework Improve Equity?
This evaluation brief describes how Wisconsin is implementing an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS) framework, also known as a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), and how schools implementing this framework with both a behavior and reading focus have shown positive outcomes for all students. The data analyzed in this brief were derived from a small, Wisconsin RtI Center staff directed project. The focus was on the impact of an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS). The data look at schools that engaged in professional development in several MLSS training series that have an explicit focus on equitable outcomes for all students. Educators may choose to use this resource to evaluate their current readiness to embark on installation of an integrated MTSS framework.

The Equity Literacy Framework
Equity literacy is a comprehensive approach for creating and sustaining equitable schools. The foundations of equity literacy are (1) a commitment to deepening individual and institutional understandings of how equity and inequity operate in organizations and societies, and (2) the individual and institutional knowledge, skills, and will to vigilantly identify inequities, eliminate inequities, and actively cultivating equity. At the individual level, when we embrace equity literacy we learn to become a threat to the existence of inequity and an active cultivator of equity in our spheres of influence.

Pursuit of Equity: Aligning Transition Planning from the State, Local and District Levels
Link to part two of a four-part equity webinar series around transition planning for students with disabilities. Educators may use this webinar to support their efforts in developing inter-agency partnerships, and strategies to better prepare students for transition.

NYSED Culturally Relevant Sustaining Education Framework
The Culturally Responsive-Sustaining (CR-S) framework is intended to help education stakeholders create student-centered learning environments and policies that affirm cultural identities; foster positive academic outcomes; develop students' abilities to connect across lines of difference; elevate historically marginalized voices; empower students as agents of social change; and contribute to individual student engagement, learning, growth, and achievement through the cultivation of critical thinking.

Assessing Bias in Standards and Curricular Materials

The Great Lakes Equity Center Assessing Bias in Standards & Curricular Materials Tool enables users to determine the extent to which developed standards and curricular materials reflect educational equity. The tool provides guidance in reviewing standards and curricular materials using equity-oriented domains and includes a scoring and analysis guide to assist with the evaluation process.

Miseducation: ProPublica -- Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?
Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.

Considerations for Academic Assessments and Interventions Upon the Return to School
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers a resource for considerations in how to approach returning to school in COVID-19 through the use of screening and classwide intervention.

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Response to Intervention Within Multi-tiered System of Supports: Fidelity of Implementation Rubric
The Culturally and Linguistically Responsive (CLR)–Response to Intervention (RTI) Fidelity Rubric is used by individuals who are responsible for monitoring school-level fidelity of RTI implementation within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). The rubric is aligned with the essential components of RTI and the infrastructure that is necessary for successful implementation. It is accompanied by a worksheet with guiding questions and score points for use in an interview with a school’s RTI leadership team.

TNTP Supporting Multilingual Learners During the 2020-21 School Year
This guide is useful to educators in determining how to best continue students’ language and literacy development.

CCSSO Restart and Recovery: Access and Equity for English Learners
This tool offers state leaders recommendations to provide effective equitable practices to English Learners in the midst of COVID-19.

R&D Center to Improve Secondary Education for English Learners (
This website focuses on  deepening and accelerating learning by removing systemic barriers, and promoting success for English Learners in community, college, and career.

Equitable Instruction

MTSS for All: Including Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities
The National Center on Educational Outcomes in coordination with the TIES Center (the National Center on Inclusive Education) describe the history of multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).  The focus from a schoolwide framework with a focus on general education students who were not identified as qualifying for special education services to  a framework that is beneficial for all students, including those identified as students with disabilities, has emerged. However, MTSS typically has not explicitly included students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This publication explores how the MTSS framework can be applied to instructionally include this population of students and to reduce the numbers of students participating in the alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS).

The National Center on Inclusive Education
The National Center on Inclusive Education is known as the TIES Center. TIES represents Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices. It works with states, districts, and schools to support the movement of students with disabilities from less inclusive to more inclusive environments.  This comprehensive resource includes topics of curriculum and inclusive instruction, systemic change, distance learning, family stories, collaborative teaming and more.

Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project
The Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project provides specialized training through the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules. The Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules are designed to increase awareness, knowledge, and skills related to intervention for students who are deaf-blind and are being served in educational settings (ages 3 through 21). The 27 modules include a variety of accessible videos, photographs, slide presentations, and learning activities. For more information, contact Patti McGowan at

Optimizing Outcomes for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education released the third edition of Optimizing Outcomes for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in 2019. The purpose of these educational guidelines is to supplement and update the information needed by teachers, leaders, families, school instructional support personnel and other stakeholders to have the knowledge, skills and vision to help all deaf and hard of hearing children be successful.

IRIS Resource Locator
The IRIS Center is a national center dedicated to improving education outcomes for all children, especially those with disabilities birth through age 21, through the use of effective evidence-based practices and interventions. The resource locator allows educators to search for specific topic areas such as School Improvement and Leadership, Differentiated Instruction, Transition, Content Instruction, etc. Each topic has specific modules, activities, articles, case studies and vignettes to support professional learning.

Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard
The NYU Metro Center designed this tool to help parents, teachers, students, and community members determine the extent to which their schools' English Language Arts curricula are (or are not) culturally responsive. The creators of the tool anticipate that the process will provoke thinking about how students should learn, what they should learn, and how curriculum can be transformed to engage students effectively. To create this tool, the creators used a wide variety of existing resources, including multicultural rubrics, anti-bias rubrics, textbook rubrics, and rubrics aimed at creating cultural standards for educators, determining bias in children books and examining lesson plans (ADEED, 2012; Aguilar-Valdez, 2015; Grant & Sleeter, 2003; Lindsey et al, 2008; NCCRES, 2006; Rudman, 1984; World View, 2013).

We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service
Merging theory and practice, connecting contemporary issues to historical ones, and providing a deep analysis on the current state of education, Dr. Chris Emdin ushers in a new way of looking at improving schools and schooling. Drawing from themes in his New York Times Bestselling book, and the latest album from rap group A Tribe Called Quest, Emdin offers insight into the structures of contemporary schools, and highlights major issues like the absence of diversity among teachers, the ways educators of color are silenced in schools, the absence of student voice in designing teaching and learning, and a way forward in addressing these issues. This hour-long TED Talk may be useful for educators seeking to find ways to rethink traditional educational practices.

Universal Design for Learning Graphic Organizer
The graphic organizer developed by CAST provides a concise overview of the mechanisms to provide universal design for learning in classrooms. It describes multiple means of engagement, representation and action & expression. District and school leaders may use this tool to support educational staff in their understanding and delivery of universally designed practices.

Inequities in Online Classrooms: How Do We Bridge the Distance (Learning)? | Great Lakes Equity Center
This edition of Equity Digest is a call to action for school community stakeholders to work alongside minoritized students and families (people with identities such as LGBTQ+, non-binary, women, disabled, non-Christian, people of Color, and/or emergent multilingual individuals) as they experience compounding inequities during this historic period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we discuss inequities related to online/distance learning, and how schools and school communities can serve as resources and supports for minoritized students. Having these ongoing discussions lend themselves to keeping pace with the growing body of knowledge in relation to COVID-19 and schooling.

Asia at the Smithsonian
Explore many facets of Asia, and of being Asian or Asian American through diverse digital exhibits. For example, explore people and places of the Pacific, or the US-China relationship through postage stamps. Explore Asian American experiences and heritage through Art, photographs and other exhibits.

STEM Academic Equity Resources

STEM Education Equity Analysis Tool
Self-assessment tools offer an opportunity to pause and critically reflect on policies and practices; this tool, developed from the Great Lakes Equity Center, in particular invites schools into a self-evaluation of equity in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning, with an eye toward graduating students who are prepared for and excited about engaging in STEM careers.

STEM Equity Program Evaluation Rubric
This rubric, from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), is designed to help program administrators, designers, implementers and funders identify the critical attributes of a STEM program to determine the degree to which it is inclusive and supports access and success for students who historically have not engaged in STEM. Serving "all students" does not ensure equity, so considering how each of these attributes impacts underrepresented students in STEM and addressing those barriers will create a STEM learning environment where every student can succeed.

Seattle Public Schools - Math Ethnic Studies K-12 Framework
This tool provides schools and teachers with a K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework. This instructional framework may be used to rethink math through a social justice lens. Essential questions, themes and learning targets are provided.

Understanding Language, Stanford University
The goal of these materials is to illustrate how Common Core aligned math tasks can be used to support math instruction and language development for English Learners (ELs) at three grade spans (elementary, middle, and high school). Sample lessons are also provided to the user.

PaTTAN CS Administrator Toolkit: Equity & Inclusion
"CS For All PA" sums up what we're striving for in K-12 Computer Science (CS) education: Equitable CS education for all students including students of color, historically underrepresented populations, English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities. The toolkit is organized in the following categories: Access, Representation & Participation, and Instruction & Classroom Climate.

Access and Equity in Mathematics Education
The National Council of Mathematics Teachers issued a position statement regarding the importance of access and equity for students. In short, they note that "practices that support access and equity require comprehensive understanding. These practices include, but are not limited to, holding high expectations, ensuring access to high-quality mathematics curriculum and instruction, allowing adequate time for students to learn, placing appropriate emphasis on differentiated processes that broaden students' productive engagement with mathematics, and making strategic use of human and material resources. When access and equity have been successfully addressed, student outcomes—including achievement on a range of mathematics assessments, disposition toward mathematics, and persistence in the mathematics pipeline—transcend, and cannot be predicted by students' racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Classroom Practices That Support Equity-Based Mathematics Teaching
This tool provides recommended classroom practices to support equity-based mathematics instruction. The resource indicates that "equity-based mathematics teaching requires more than implementing new curriculum or using specific practices, because it involves taking a stand for what is right. It requires mathematics teachers to reflect on their own identity, positions, and beliefs in regard to racist and sorting-based mechanisms. It involves noticing students, learning about the worlds they live in, and building mathematics that comes from these worlds. And finally, it involves engaging other educators in partnerships to build equity-oriented communities."