Equity Institute

Critical Care

Topeka Public Schools, Topeka, Kansas

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Topeka Public Schools has engaged in equity work since 2011, when elements of the Equity Institute were established including the district’s Equity Council. The initiatives expanded in 2016 to include a focus on college and career readiness as the district focused on ways to eliminate opportunity gaps.

There are many initiatives that make up the Equity Institute. These include the districtwide Equity Council (which includes student run equity councils in high schools), initiatives aimed at reducing poverty, the new equity and personnel director position impacting the personnel and teacher mentoring program, and college and career-ready initiatives.

HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM SEEK TO REMOVE THE BARRIERS TO ACHIEVEMENT?

Through the Equity Institute, many elements work toward the common goal of closing the achievement gap. The goal of the Equity Council is to gain racial equity for all students to raise the achievement of all students. By having a council dedicated to equity, barriers for minority students are brought to the district’s attention quickly, allowing for action to occur faster.  

Topeka Public Schools is committed to educational fairness and opportunity for all racial and ethnic groups, and academic excellence and personal success for all students. Central to this commitment is educational equity, raising the achievement of all. The district has engaged in multilayered racial equity development work with Pacific Educational Group to create the educational climate and culture for systemic equity transformation. 

EVIDENCE OF THE PROGRAM’S SUCCESS

Since starting the Equity Institute in 2011, the district continues to collect data on a number of levels to evaluate and revise the work of the district Equity Institute. The increase in graduation rates across the board, but also in specific groups of students, serves as convincing evidence that the work being done is successful. It takes time to see an impact on this level, so to have the highest graduation rates this year over the last seven years shows the district is moving the needle in the right direction.

In 2013, the graduation rates for African American students was at 63.8 percent; in 2017, the district saw the highest rate over the last seven years at 78 percent. In 2014, Native American students saw a graduation rate of 40 percent, and in 2017 this had increased to 62.5 percent. This growth continues in the Hispanic populations who were graduating at a rate of 65.3 percent in both 2013 and 2014. In 2017, they increased to 69.5 percent. With a graduation rate of 82.2 percent for white students for 2017, the district knows the achievement gap still exists, but it is making strides in closing that gap.

CONTACT

Director of Communications
Misty Kruger
mkruger@tps501.org
www.topekapublicschools.net

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