C-A considering ‘equity audit’ to better serve diverse student body

FLINT TWP. — A process to promote “culturally proficient instruction” is being looked at by Carman-Ainsworth Schools administration.

Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff, in a report to the school board last month, discussed the benefits of an equity audit under consideration but stressed that nothing is firm at this time.

He explained that the equity audit would entail working with consultants who would look at all school policies, practices and procedures to determine if “we have things we do that unknowingly create barriers for certain student in our schools.”

Providing culturally proficient instruction is a part of that, he said. Looking into the process meets a long-term goal to address changing demographics of the C-A student population which is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse, in the county.

This is not a response to anything that has happened in the schools but rather a means of looking forward with a goal to ensure that staff is creating an equitable learning environment for all students, Tunnicliff said.

“We want to commit to doing it right,’’ he said, adding that it would be a threeto five year process if the administration decides to move forward.

Equity audits and culturally proficient instruction are current buzzwords in educational circles.

An equity audit is basically a data collection process that spans all facets of a school or district environment then analyzes findings to identify areas for improvement.

Culturally proficient instruction is defined as a developmental approach that addresses issues that can emerge in a diverse environment and helps individuals and organizations learn to interact effectively with others who are different from them.

Tunnicliff also informed the board about other staff improvement ideas being explored. One is a result of a training attended by Tunnicliff and three building administrators called Capturing Kids Hearts by The Flippen Group which works with schools and business on behaviors and practices to transform them into a thriving success-oriented organizations. According to creator Flip Flippen: “If you have a child’s heart, you have his head.”

The three-day training helps school leaders develop tools to build positive, productive, trusting relationships with each other and students.

“The training is very intensive and really about how to develop requirements in our schools on how we work with individual students and each other to build self-responsibility for our actions, but also to build a culture where there is safety to share thoughts and concerns,’’ Tunnicliff said.

He and those who attended the training will be sharing what the learned with the entire administrative staff with a possible long-term goal of bringing a recommendation to the school board for districtwide implementation.

“Our best administrators and teachers are doing these things already but to have consistency about how we do things can have benefit,’’ Tunnicliff said.

Yet another staff improvement process involves Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership which required that Tunnicliff meet one-on-one with 30 administrators to set personal growth goals. He said he was very impressed by the response from staff in setting challenging self-improvement goals for themselves.

“If implemented, we are going to be in a much better place,” ‘he said.

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