Each student—including students with higher needs and students of color—experiences a physically safe and emotionally supportive environment at school, including fair and consistent rules and discipline policies, positive relationships with staff and students that foster belonging, effective social-emotional learning opportunities, and meaningful family engagement that meets students’ needs, so all students can reach high standards and thrive.
Sample Questions to Ask
- How do rates of office discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions vary across student groups and/or across schools in our district?
- Based on student surveys, what percentage of students report feeling safe at school? Are there differences across student groups or schools?
- What strategies for building strong student-student and student-teacher relationships are used across our district?
- Based on family surveys, what percentage of families report being informed and consulted about the academic or non-academic lives of their children at school?
See our DIY District Diagnostic for more examples and recommendations about the types of data to look at.
Common Causes of Inequity
- Insufficient Staff Capacity and Support: Without necessary time, expertise, and/or cultural competence, it can be challenging for school leaders, teachers, and support staff to develop positive relationships and respond to student behaviors in ways that effectively and consistently promote a safe, supportive, and positive learning environment.
- Unclear Institutional Vision: Schools may struggle to facilitate a positive and inviting climate because of unclear and uncomprehensive visions for student safety, supportive relationships, and family engagement.
- Inconsistent Programs and Practices: Districts may struggle to support all students’ interpersonal growth if social-emotional learning opportunities are not consistently implemented across schools.
See our District Guidebook for more root causes and action steps to address inequities.
No single dimension of education resource equity can unlock every student’s potential—but when dimensions are combined to meet students’ distinct needs, they are a strong foundation for unlocking better, more equitable experiences in school.
Explore the Student Supports and Intervention dimension as disciplinary actions and social-emotional learning opportunities often require targeted interventions with specialist staff.