February 22, 2019
By Kelly Wachel, APR
Executive Director of Public Relations
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District
At their February 21, 2019, Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the LSR7 Equity Plan.
After community conversation that started in the fall and through learning and reflection, our team created a plan revolving around strategies and goals to provide access and opportunity to eliminate disproportionate student data and increase systemic equitable practices.
Jordan Russo-Hicks, a senior at Lee’s Summit West High School, wrote this in the latest “Our Schools” edition: “Until we understand what’s actually going on, we can’t even begin to get to the root of this conversation. That’s all it’s about in the end: understanding. Our progression is advanced by our awareness of the situation.”
As we introduce our equity plan to our internal audiences and to our community stakeholders, we do so in the spirit of collaboration and goodwill. Our team has worked through this plan with an advisory group of parents, teachers and community leaders. Our team has also worked with student advisory groups to garner feedback and thoughts around the plan and around the celebrations currently happening in our schools. Finally, our team worked with leadership groups in our school district to revise and adjust the plan as it was presented to the Board of Education and community.
Our work is building upon the successes and celebrations inherent in our schools. We have much to celebrate among our students, teachers, leaders, families and community – this plan is an extension of the good work we get to do in our schools each day.
Some Background on the Equity Plan
The purpose of the LSR7 Equity Plan is to provide a framework for equity-based work to support identified recommendations outlined in the Academic Systems Review. Equality and equity are vastly different. Equality in education is achieved when all students have the same opportunity as their counterpart to access and resources. In contrast, equity is achieved when all students receive what they need individually, when they need it so they are college, career or workforce ready.
In the spring of 2016, the Instructional Operations Team requested an Academic Systems Review as a part of continuous school improvement efforts. The goal of the review was to gain a clear analysis of where our school district was relative to teaching and learning, as well as to get guidance and feedback in areas for improvement to better meet the needs of our LSR7 students and families. The reviewers analyzed information from review of documentation, interviews, classroom visits and surveys to arrive at sixteen findings and nine recommendations. The recommendations from the Academic Systems Review provided a road map to assist with removing barriers to support our school district in achieving its vision and mission.
The scope of this equity plan work used the recommendations of the Academic Systems Review, student achievement data and collaboration with teams and parents to elicit feedback for concepts and strategies to achieve the valued outcome. The feedback gathered was used for revisions and additions to the plan.
Recently, a request for research specific to Lee’s Summit R-7 Schools was conducted by a Board approved contract with EAB Global. Inc. (Education Advisory Board). The project explored implementation and logistics of professional development for teachers and administrators around the country. The research employed primary and secondary sources to understand how school districts design and implement professional development for teachers and administrators with similar demographics and characteristics to our District. The research produced examples of key observations, examples of implementation of district-wide equity plans, examples of professional learning opportunities and example assessments of equity and inclusion.
“It is important to us to share our learning and findings with our students, families, staff and community as we embark upon continued work around equity and inclusion. We celebrate the work already completed, the work already happening and the work to come. Please find our executive summary, equity plan and equity presentation below. We look forward to collaboratively forging ahead together,” said Dr. Dennis Carpenter, Superintendent.