About the Office of Equity
At SPPS and in school districts around the country, students of color perform at lower academic levels than their white counterparts - regardless of socioeconomic status. Closing the achievement gap is an urgent need for SPPS, with a student population that is 76% students of color and with 30% of students receiving English Learner Services.
Growing capacity to interrupt systems of marginalization to support student learning and development.
All SPPS staff are racial equity leaders in partnership with students, families, and the community.
SPPS began its racial equity development in December 2010. District leadership including the Superintendent’s Cabinet, department leaders, and principals began yearlong equity development in partnership with Pacific Educational Group. The training included 8 formal training sessions; Two days of the foundation seminar, Beyond Diversity followed by 6-leadership session over the next year.
The Board of Education also attended Beyond Diversity. Both the Board of Education and Superintendent’s Cabinet continue formal training focused on governing through an equity lens and systems change.
SPPS isolated race and moved its focus from cultural proficiency to racial equity based on district-wide data, which indicated a racial achievement gap. SPPS goals are to accelerate learning for all students by eliminating racial predictability and disproportionately in achievement.
September 2011, building principals chose school site staff to join them to form site equity teams. (E—Teams). These teams began their yearlong training and racial equity development work. This included the two-day foundation seminar, Beyond Diversity followed by 6 leadership sessions over the next year. School sites were divided into four cohorts due to size.
Cohorts I and II completed their formal training Fall 2012, and Cohorts III and IV will complete their formal training January 2014. Cohorts III and IV have completed four of the six E-Team trainings as of May 2013.
All SPPS departments and school E-Teams continue this work in their departments and schools through staff development, staff attendance in Beyond Diversity, and leading the work in their area of leadership.
Saint Paul Public Schools Board of Education approved the Racial Equity Policy on July 16, 2013. This policy outlines the expectations and commitment to equity in Saint Paul Public Schools. The policy in part reads:
"SPPS students deserve respectful learning environments in which their racial and ethnic diversity is valued and contributes to successful academic outcomes.
This policy confronts the institutional racism that results in predictably lower academic achievement for students of color than for their white peers. Eliminating our district’s institutional racism will increase achievement, including on-time graduation, for all students, while narrowing the gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students."