By Shaw Israel Izikson, Contributor
The Champlain Valley School District (CVSD) is developing an equity audit to be concluded by the spring.
Traditionally, equity audits are used by schools to assess diversity, equity, and inclusion measures for schools.
According to CVSD Superintendent Rene Sanchez, who spoke about the planned equity audit during the CSVD Board of Directors regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21, the school district’s equity audit will be used for several purposes: to develop an understanding of the scope and nature of racism in the district, to develop an understanding of the district’s discipline system using an equity lens, to evaluate the school district’s policies using an equity lens, and to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on student outcomes and indicators.
The planned areas of focus for the audit will be the school district’s culture, academic achievements, disciplinary practices, curriculum and teaching capacity, along with the support services it gives for students, families and staff.
“Just last year the school district passed an equity policy and an equity definition,” Sanchez said. “Since that was honored by the board, we know that equity floats throughout all different parts of the school district when it comes to instruction, curriculum, transportation, budget, and all different aspects of the district. I wanted to make sure that we had a baseline so, as we move forward, we are recognizing the value of the equity policy passed by the board that we can point towards either progress or maintenance of equity practices.”
Sanchez said that he, along with other members of the district, wants to know where the district stands when it comes to equity in all facets of the school district.
“It will lead to conversations that we can have at the schools and the community so everyone would have a more concrete understanding of what it means to practice equity,” Sanchez said. “Once we have the information that we need, we will identify important stakeholders and ask them to help us brainstorm some solutions that we can have in place going forward.”
Sanchez said that the school district will use the fully developed equity plan in order to ensure that the school district makes progress on a regular process.
He said the school district has received four different proposals from companies that want to conduct the equity plan for the district: New York University Metro Center, Mass Insight, Education Development Center, and a combined proposal from Up for Learning and The Center for School Climate and Learning.
However, Sanchez did not say what the estimated costs were for each company’s services.
According to a timeline provided by Sanchez, the school district plans on making its decision on which company it goes with by Friday, Oct. 1.
By Monday, Oct. 4, the school district will work with the selected organization to develop a timeline for implementation and a final report on the equity audit.
Sanchez added that the school district will be holding meetings and listening sessions in the fall for district stakeholders, and a collection of data via a focus group survey in the winter.