Dr. William Chavis | Principal | Enloe Magnet High School

For the past two school years, Enloe has worked to intentionally improve educational experiences and outcomes for all students.  The Enloe community is committed to providing equitable opportunities for the students for which it serves. During this time period, Enloe has established four equity teams:  Administrative, Teacher, Parent and Student. Each team represents the many levels of diversity found within the school environment. Enloe is a large, urban, comprehensive high school in downtown Raleigh, with magnet programs (Gifted and Talented; International Baccalaureate) which attracts students from all over the district.

Administrative Equity Team: The administrative team’s journey toward equity began with creating a shared understanding of ‘equity’ from the school-based leadership perspective.  The administrative team (consisting of the Principal and Assistant Principals) engaged in seven professional learning opportunities which caused members to think deeply, critically and reflectively about the notion of race, bias and privilege within the context of lived experiences and those in which are encountered within the school setting.  The administrative team delved into the unpacking and reading of culturally responsive text which examines and explores equity in schools and identifying leadership practices which supports creating inclusive, equitable learning environments. Members of the team participated in local learning opportunities with citizens of the community (i.e. Racial Equity Institute).  The entire team visited the Race Exhibit sponsored by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and debriefed on experiences and of perspectives. The team continues to engage in professional learning and analyzing student performance data, in advancing their understanding and application of equitable-based solutions for students.

Teacher Equity Team:  In the spring of the year 1, a teacher equity team was established, made up of volunteers who had a desire to champion the work of providing equity within the school.  Teachers engaged in professional learning experiences and had crucial conversations about their racial identity, their personal experiences and professional practice. Ongoing meetings and discussions took place to develop a shared vision for the work.  The teacher team participates in professional learning rooted in the exploration of race and individual biases, while determining root causes, analysis of data and identifying action steps for reducing disparities. Teachers on this team have participated in sessions which support active listening and coaching models to support their peer teachers.   During this school year, members of the teacher team worked alongside of students to develop the Enloe 5 framework; teachers collaboratively unpacked the strategies with students, creating solutions and action steps of how to effectively integrate and implement the five components of the framework into the culture of the school. This work has supported an intentional push of obtaining student feedback and voice in classroom evaluations which informs teachers of their instructional practice and ways to better connect with students.

Parent Equity Team:  The Parent Equity Team is comprised of parent and community volunteers who seek to improve educational outcomes and conditions for all students, particularly students of color, and their parents. Prior to forming a parent equity team, the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) provided the school with a substantial amount of money to develop and support the work of equity; they have created a subgroup of the PTSA specifically for this initiative.  Similar to the Teacher Equity Team, the parents explored race, bias and privilege, but did so within the context of the school and the larger community. Parents, too, analyzed school performance data, and created action steps of supporting the school-based equity teams, from the parents’ position. The parent team is currently working on supporting the Enloe 5 and how parents and community members can rally behind the framework and support this work through external resources, community allies, and parental and family engagement.

Student Equity Team:  The piece which was missing from all of the aforementioned work, was the voice and feedback of the population for which we serve – our students.  Members of the teacher and administrative equity teams chose students, representative of the diverse totality within the school (i.e. racial, ethnic, geographic and socio-economic diversity, variability in academic programs, participation in extra- and co-curricular activities (or not), general education, special education…and the list goes on.  Fifty students were chosen to represent over 2,500 students and their equity lens. Students, too, engaged in academic learning over the course of the year, developing their consciousness of equity, race and inclusion, and students were given the platform to discuss their schooling experience. As the year progressed, students unpacked sixteen evidence-based, culturally relevant and responsive strategies, which, if employed in the school setting, would better connect students to the teaching and learning culture found, specifically at Enloe.  These strategies were based out of the work of many pioneers of the research, to include Geneva Gay, Gloria Ladson-Billings and Tyrone Howard. Students explored, researched and unpacked these strategies and identified five strategies which would transform the culture at Enloe. Student representatives from the Student Equity Team worked in partnership with representatives from the Teacher Equity Team to define and calibrate the “Enloe 5 Framework.”

Equity Community Day:  In the spring of this past year, all four equity teams came together (in addition to equity teams from other districts) to assess the collective work of each team, celebrate the accomplishments of dedicated work, and to action plan around the Enloe 5 and for future work.  The teams examined school-based data, to include behavioral, academic and attendance data in order to problem solve and create a plan for continuous improvement. The team also reflected on their personal growth and journey, commenting on their initial hesitation of the work to their individual development over the span of the year. Strategically assigned, each group consisted of members from each equity team in order for cross-conversations among each stakeholder group to take place.  Members of all teams left the community day with set action plans and inspiration to continue the work in the school and surrounding communities.

This work, in its initial stage, is transforming education within the building.  Enloe has worked with feeder schools (elementary and middle) to ensure that this work is vertical in nature, and that the experiences of students, from kindergarten to graduation, is rewarding and powerful for all.

Special thanks goes to Graig Meyer of the Equity Collaborative and Assistant Principal Jose Espinal for their extraordinary leadership in moving the work of equity forward in the Enloe community.

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