If you ask any teacher or administrator to confirm that all students should receive the resources and support they need to be successful academically, you would hear a resounding, yes.
After years and multiple educational studies, we know that simply providing the same treatment and resources to all students do not lead to the same results.
Educators are now striving to reach educational equity within their classrooms. This has become increasingly more important since the pandemic which caused an even greater learning loss among all student but particularly students of color.
The good news is school districts now have an opportunity to address these pervasive and critical learning issues with the help of additional funding they’re receiving through the Federal CARES Act and the COVID-19 Relief Act.
There are 5 steps schools can take this year to reach educational equity for all students:
- Restore Community Trust
School districts must work hard to restore community trust to get the buy-in they need from people in the black and hispanic communities. They can do this by engaging with students, parents, and community leaders to encourage them to be equal partners in the educational process and to attend school functions.
- Encourage Open Communication
Open communication is key when it comes to providing an equitable education for all. Families need to be consulted on what their kids need to succeed academically. Oftentimes, the need goes far beyond just the school supplies and the more the family is involved in the student’s education the more success the student will achieve.
Many school districts host community events with back-to-school haircuts, free dental care, and donated products such as school supplies, coats, clothing, shoes, and feminine products to make sure that all students have what they need to start school.
Translators reaching out to non-English speaking families throughout the school year, before school events and during parent/teacher meetings can help build the bridge to get these parents involved. Many of these families are already wary of the system so helping them communicate and getting their participation will strengthen the community overall and will lead to a higher level of success for these students.
- Mental Health Services
Providing free mental health services will help families in these communities deal with the increased stresses and traumas they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Black and hispanic students are far less likely to have access to technology and reliable internet at home, so schools should continue to get these resources into the hands of families who need them most. Given we are in the midst of the digital age, to have students who are unable to participate in school because they don’t have the technology to be able to do so is just unacceptable.
- Acceleration Academies
Once basic human, resources and academic needs are covered, schools should commit to creating acceleration academies within their buildings so that small groups of students can work directly with a teacher on the most important aspects of the curriculum so they can catch up with their peers quickly and efficiently.