Innovating for Equity

A Toolkit for Redesigning Student-Centered Schools and Classrooms

Why Innovating for Equity?

Many educators believe that innovative, student-centered learning leads to greater achievement for all students, especially students of color and low-income students facing barriers to excellent educational outcomes. However, student-centered school innovation will replicate inequitable outcomes if it does not include an explicit equity lens.

We believe that schools must innovate with equity in mind.

Without an emphasis on culturally responsive teaching and a clear assessment of existing inequities and barriers, the student-centered redesign movement could fail the students who need it the most. The field needs a new toolkit with practical guidance for creating truly equitable and student-centered schools. To meet this need, CCE has developed the Equitable Redesign Cycle (right) within our Innovating for Equity toolkit, providing practical tools and an exploration of best practices at the nexus of equity and innovation.

What is the purpose of this toolkit?

"Unless you innovate with intention rather than novelty, those that are falling behind will fall further behind.” - Russlyn Ali, XQ Super School

This toolkit provides educators with a process for driving equity-focused, innovative school change—along with the tools they need to bring this to life in their own school settings. Our Equitable Redesign Cycle walks educators through the five phases of equitable and innovative school redesign. At every step of the way, we share examples from real schools, supplemental tools, helpful videos, websites to bring the concepts to life, and clear guidance to support effective planning and implementation.

Who is this toolkit for?

Our Innovating for Equity toolkit is for school leaders, classroom teachers, school design teams, and other educators who are ready to build a more culturally-responsive, student-centered school. This toolkit ensures that both culturally responsive learning and personalized, student-centered design can be achieved together. If you aim to begin work that blurs the line between these two areas of school redesign, then this is the right guide for you.

How to use this toolkit?

Our Innovating for Equity toolkit is comprised of both a printed guide—downloadable here  or available for purchase in print (coming soon)—and an interactive website complete with multimedia resources, printable tools, and the essentials of our Equitable Redesign Cycle.

While reading the guide from start to finish and following the cycle phases in order will benefit individuals or teams working from the beginning on a new redesign project, we recognize that everyone has a different entry point. We recommend that all users begin with an overview of our cycle and then determine which “phase” best suits your school. Whether your aim is to better meet the needs of marginalized students in your innovative school or leveraging innovation to begin a new redesign, this toolkit and guide should benefit your work.

Phases of the Equitable Redesign Cycle

1. Equity Audit & Visioning
1. Equity Audit & Visioning

2. Launching Collaboration & Learning
2. Launching Collaboration & Learning

3. Iterative Design: Planning & Piloting
3. Iterative Design: Planning & Piloting

4. Sustainable Implementation for Equity
4. Sustainable Implementation for Equity

5. Evaluation & Scaling for Equitable Outcomes
5. Evaluation & Scaling for Equitable Outcomes

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An approach to teaching and learning that is flexible and adaptable, adjusting the system to the individual students and what they need to be successful in today's diverse, global world.
Students exercise voice and choice in their learning, embracing their individual strengths, needs, interests, and cultural backgrounds.
The ability to use the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of culturally and linguistically diverse learners as conduits for teaching them more effectively. (Geneva Gay, 2002)
Developed in a way that ensures a barrier-free environment for all students, ensuring that every student, particularly those within historically underserved groups, has what they need to be successful. To be truly equitable, schools must not only have equity of opportunity but of outcomes.
The process of envisioning, designing, and implementing a school model, either from scratch as a way of redesigning and disrupting the existing educational system, or as part of the transformation of an existing school.