Edstar was hired to help a middle school write and implement a School Improvement Plan. We were to work with the school for two years. They had large achievement gaps between upper and lower-income and white and minority students. We created a school data profile for them so they could see the big picture of how services and opportunities aligned with academic data.
Although the data showed many low achieving students were not in elective courses designed for giving additional support and many high achieving students were not in advanced courses, the first year, the only problem the staff recognized was that some Academically Gifted (AG) students had not been recommended for advanced math and English. They did not recognize as a problem the other high achieving students who were in standard or even remedial courses. Although the principal was a Black woman, she had adopted the Equity Lens of the school district, which was that low-income and minority students were academically at risk. So, it made sense that they were receiving the remedial services while upper income and White students were in more rigorous courses.
Before the second year that we were working with the school, we learned about EVAAS, and how to use it. EVAAS is a predictive analytics data system that can be used to identify the academic preparedness of students, and identify those who are prepared for success in 8th grade algebra, the gateway to rigorous high school STEM courses. The assistant principal, a Black man, easily learned to work with data, and with the EVAAS system. He was able to identify over 100 students predicted to be successful in 8th grade algebra who were not recommended for it.
The principal realized that although she had been overlooked for rigorous courses that she thought she would be successful in when she was in school, she had adopted the Equity Lens of the school system without realizing it. She took the top 50 of the 100 students who had been identified with data, and enrolled them into 8th grade algebra. The assistant principal worked with these students to help them prepare for the rigorous track. All of their parents were supportive, and the students were glad to be moved into this track.