|Leyden Community High School
District #212, Franklin Park, Illinois
| The make-up of the Equity Team is the key to
success. You will need a variety of voices involved in the process, but all involved must have an open mind and strong belief in the ability of all students to meet high standards.
Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work
We undertook this work because we wanted to take our AP outreach efforts to the next level. Because we have been on the College Board Honor Roll and have won the AP District of the Year, we wanted to continue the tradition of excellence demonstrated by the district. However, we wanted to have a more systematic approach to our AP outreach efforts, and we found that the process raised expectations for all students.
The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work
The investment of the teachers on our equity teams was both surprising and inspiring. The process offered leadership opportunities for both AP teachers and non AP teachers alike. In addition, we found that the student survey administered to generate student insight cards gave students a voice. Unfortunately, we learned that many students want to challenge themselves and were not always given that opportunity. This process offered us an opportunity to delve deeply into growth mindset research, and we found using that work with students to be inspiring.
Who Benefits Most
This process has forced us to look in the mirror and examine our own practices, specifically with respect to student placement. Students previously underserved from our AP program certainly benefit greatly, as they will now have opportunities previously unavailable to them. However, we found that even students not placed in AP classes will benefit by being placed in courses with increased rigor. In addition, teachers benefited from the conversations with students and data, and has helped improve their craft. It has provided teachers of different disciplines a chance to collaborate and examine curriculum.
As you start this process, you must be open minded about challenging traditions and be open to doing things differently. Leadership should go in without an agenda and listen to the team. We suggest comparing students not in AP classes to the students currently in AP programs. The profiles are strikingly similar.
• Communication to the rest of the staff and parents is crucial; make sure your messaging is clear.