HUDSON -- The Hudson School Board heard three presentations for an equity audit at its Nov. 9 board meeting as it moves forward with its efforts to take intentional action on equity in its schools.

Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity

Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity has been doing this work for 30 years, cofounder Dr. Elise Frattura told the board.

The key features of its equity audit are providing a framework and a process, not an initiative or a model.

Oppression and marginalization are historical, structural, cultural and systemic, Frattura said, and any approach to equity requires systemic change.

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“When we pay attention to achievement gaps, when we pay attention to inequities within our schools, we actually lift the learning of all kids,” she said.

The equity audit has four cornerstones. The first step is to look at the current systems and how people see families and kids within the system. The next step is to align staff and students.

Only after doing those two things can the process move on to transforming teaching and learning at the classroom level, Frattura said. The final step is leveraging policy and funding.

The audit includes holding focus groups with staff in each school, asking open-ended questions about what is going well and what hiccups there are. Focus groups are followed by individual interviews, and potentially additional focus groups with community members and students.

The process also will include looking at data by student groups and proportional representation within that data. Policy, procedure and funding will be reviewed. If possible, on-site observations will also be done.

A final submission would provide a set of recommendations on how to pull the pieces together to advance improvement for everyone, Frattura said.

The timeline is about two months.

The proposed cost is $35,750.

Damon A. Williams

Dr. Damon A. Williams has worked with thousands of organizations around the world, including corporate, university and K-12 groups. He has been intentional about wanting to work with K-12 level.

“For us, it’s really about creating a continuum,” he said.

Williams said his focus is helping institutions navigate what he calls “the perfect storm of dynamics,” which is the combination of a rise of activism, the potential flashpoint of technology and social media, a great recession and a growing climate of hate.

The methodology of his team includes dialogue and listening sessions to gain an understanding of the current climate and culture through focus groups, open-ended, anonymous surveys and individual interviews.

The process would also include a culturally relevant review of disciplinary, academic achievement and human resources data to look for patterns of inequity. A review of the curriculum would also be done to examine how issues of inclusion and diversity are handled.

The proposal has insights to jumpstart action efforts, providing a detailed review to the board. A forum would be held at the beginning and end of the process to communicate with the community. A leadership institute would also be implemented to explore the next steps.

A second phase is also included in the proposal, which would include five live trainings, held at three times, on key learning experiences identified as important to the district.

Phase 1 would be a six-month project. Phase 2 would provide live and through videos, and would have a 24-month license.

The proposed cost of phase one is $155,000 and phase two is $75,000.

Equity Literacy Institute

Equity Literacy Institute takes a comprehensive approach and is committed to understanding, individually and institutionally, how equity and inequity operate, lead audit specialist Seema Pothini said.

Equity Literacy provides a variety of audit options. The district can choose to include paper or online surveys for students, as well as focus groups. Individual interviews are also available, as some people feel more safe and comfortable speaking in that capacity. Site visits are available and give the team a chance to see what barriers, even subtle, can be eliminated. Curriculum and policy analysis is also available, and can be as extensive as the district would like. Some policy and curriculum changes are as minor as word changes, and others are completely rewritten, Pothini said.

The organization will present a report at the end highlighting champions and challenges in the district. It will make recommendations based on research, lived experience and previous work. Equity Literacy can then provide professional development to address issues found within the audit.

The cost of the audit depends on what pieces the district chooses to include. Surveys range between $5,000-$6,000, focus groups and interviews are $6,000 per day with up to five groups in a day, site visits are $6,000 a day for one to two days, curriculum and policy analysis are between $2,000 and $10,000 and a written final report is $3,000 while a detail report and multiple oral reports are $10,000.

The timeline is up to the district, but Pothini said the audit can be done in as little as two months.