Equity in Education
Working Together for Equity, Inclusivity and Excellence in the Kyrene School District
Kyrene School District is committed to ensuring equity among all students through the development of a system-wide culture of inclusion. This systemic approach includes professional development for all educators, leaders and staff members. In making professional development a cornerstone of Kyrene's equity work, the District will be better equipped to address key elements of Kyrene's Strategic Plan 2022, by increasing the knowledge and skills of our staff in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and restorative practices.
Our Call to Action
Commit to Equity
- Acknowledge disparities and inequities
- Embed equity goals in strategic plan
- Measure progress of equity goals
- Structures to engage community
- Teacher, Parent, Student and Community Councils
- Training to affect change
Act on Commitments
- Implement specific strategies, objectives and tactics with timelines
- Measure progress of deliverables and revise tactics as needed
- Publicly communicate disparities and gaps
- Continuously meet, share progress and make necessary adjustments for improvement
“In Kyrene, we believe equity and inclusion are the work of all staff, not just one individual. The only way to truly close achievement, opportunity and discipline gaps in our schools is with systemic solutions. We must create a culture of equity throughout the District. We are hopeful that by embedding the lens of equity and inclusion in every one of Kyrene’s functions—teaching, learning, hiring, community engagement—we can begin to close the gaps in achievement, opportunity and discipline, to ensure equity for all.”
— Kyrene Superintendent Dr. Jan Vesely.
Kyrene's commitment to equity is embedded into the culture of our District and schools. This can be seen in such places as the G.R.O.W. room at Kyrene de los Ninos (pictured above), where young men learn to tie ties and a whole lot more. G.R.O.W. stands for Gentlemen Realizing Our Worth. It is a program that encourages students to practice accountability by agreeing to and meeting expectations that reflect mutual respect and well-being. Students used a diplomatic process to decide their focus, and any adult in the building can remind them of the expectations as well as celebrate them. On Tuesdays, these students wear ties to show their pride!
One of the five goals of Kyrene's Strategic Plan 2022 is to promote an inclusive culture of respect, high expectations, collaboration and shared accountability for student success. Through this goal, Kyrene seeks to foster a culture of trust and high expectations by engaging parents, students, staff and community members to ensure transparency and strengthen relationships that support a shared responsibility for student success. Specifically, this work includes the creation and implementation of short- and long-term training and development focused on leveraging diversity and building the capacity of cultural competency, equity and inclusion for all stakeholder groups.
Part of Kyrene's efforts to engage the community include working closely with members of the Community/Superintendent Council. The Council's mission is to provide resources and feedback to the Kyrene School District in developing and maintaining sustainable plans that align with the District's Strategic Plan 2022 goals as they relate to diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural awareness.
Inclusion means students and employees feel welcomed, seen, safe, respected, cared for and understood.
Inequity prevents students from accessing opportunities over their lifetime. It creates opportunity gaps, discipline gaps and achievement gaps.
Equity in education means school outcomes (both positive and negative) are distributed equitably across different demographic and identity groups, while negative outcomes are reduced for all groups. Resources are distributed equitably across all groups, schools and communities. An example of this equitable distribution in action can be seen in Kyrene's RISE UP Schools. As part of Kyrene School District’s unwavering commitment to its vision that all students achieve at their maximum potential to become problem-solvers, creators, and visionaries of tomorrow, the District has identified four schools to receive additional support and resources in order to close achievement gaps and transform the lives of students.
Kyrene School District has a history of excellence and aims to keep the bar high. Kyrene empowers students and employees in the preservation of their identity and culture. Substance, depth and critical thinking are as important as test scores and more important than mere compliance.
Equity Partnerships and Support
As part of Kyrene's commitment to equity, the District issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2018, seeking services related to professional development on equity, support for the creation of practices to eliminate barriers to inclusion, increased awareness of equity issues, capacity building of knowledge and skills among District staff on restorative discipline, mediation and conflict resolution. Corwin Consulting was selected to perform professional development and training. The following vendors were also identified as providers of possible supplemental services:
- KOI Education
- Kamm Solutions
- Human Services Development Collaborative
The RFP also called for the development of methods to monitor and evaluate the District’s responsiveness to equity and inclusion in several areas, including hiring practices, culturally responsive curriculum and ongoing staff training. The committee that reviewed responses to the RFP included a combination of District staff, principals, assistant principals and community members.