Minnesota Education Equity Partnership
What has been most instrumental to your progress?
To complete the Nobles County Equity Action Plan, it was vital to have an on-going Promise to Act advisory meetings with a cross-section of education and community leaders. These advisors provided insights into school and community dynamics and, in turn, MnEEP facilitators and researchers provided case studies and research on strategy to address racial disparities in education. Ultimately, the combination of these meetings with the visioning/listening sessions with families and students in the community provided important information for the Equity Action Plan.
The community visioning sessions for this process gained input from over 130 participants and were held in 5 languages – Karen, Laos, Spanish, East and West African languages were vital to the equity action planning process. Each of the community visioning sessions did an overview of the project and asked key questions related to education equity in the region--in particular, what families and students envisioned for a system focused on education equity, and what current barriers existed in the school community in order to reach that vision. This was a vital component because it provided ideas from the community (especially families) directly for the contents of the Equity Action Plan that now highlights equity strategies for this community.
The Strategies Retreat was an important activity in this equity action planning process. The Retreat was an all-day event whereby 25-30 students, community leaders, educators and political leaders learned and dialogued side-by-side to understand the results of the visioning sessions and to collectively complete a root-cause analysis to understand potential equity strategy along the entire PK to college continuum. This activity assists in community-building and co-owning of education equity recommendations for this community.
Other key elements of Community Innovation
No, upon reflection these 3 capture the elements that contributed to progress toward innovation.
Understanding the problem
Yes, this work has made it clear that there is a need for greater space and time for dialogue between school leaders and communities of color in the U.S. system and shaping school practice and policy with the input from historically marginalized communities in Minnesota and nationwide. While communities struggle with setting new education reform priorities, this work helped clarify that an Equity Action Plan and process can gauge key input from the very communities and students our educational institutions aim to serve better.