To close achievement gaps, education leaders must adopt more complete approaches to outstanding learning for all, secure and healthy learners, and a culture of equity within low- and moderate-poverty schools.
A shortfall in any of these three areas within a school magnifies the impact of unequal access to resources-educational, personal, and sociopolitical-outside of school.
In a new report commissioned by Oak Foundation, Public Impact examines the research and formulates a fresh, complete package of approaches to closing achievement gaps in diverse schools.
The report recommends that district leaders center their work on three complementary goals:
Outstanding learning for all
- Guaranteeing excellent teachers and principals, including redesigning schools to enable the district’s excellent teachers and principals to reach all students, not just a fraction.
- Ensuring access to high-standards, materials and learning opportunities.
- Using teaching methods and school practices that work, including screening for and addressing learning differences, personalizing instruction, and responding to trauma.
Secure and healthy learners
- Meeting basic needs, including meals and reducing school transitions from housing changes.
- Fostering wellness and joy via school-based health clinics, social-emotional learning, and other building blocks of academic success, and addressing mental health challenges.
- Supporting families by understanding and responding to individual and collective needs.
Culture of equity
- Addressing key equity challenges in schools, including teachers matching their racial and other identities, access to advanced opportunities, culturally relevant assignments, and research-based, non-discriminatory disciplinary policies.
- Fostering community accountability via shared leadership that truly empowers.
- Equipping individuals to act by developing leadership and addressing implicit bias via consistent, ongoing anti-bias training.
If district leaders and their communities pursue these approaches, they can help equip low-income students and students of color to close gaps and succeed in large numbers