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St. Charles School District to conduct focus groups for equity audit next month

St. Charles School District 303 next month plans to conduct focus groups as part of an equity audit of the district.

In December, board members unanimously voted to hire Chicago-based nonprofit group Consortium for Educational Change at a cost of $44,850. Staff had recommended hiring the company to do the equity audit.

The purpose of the equity audit is to conduct a comprehensive review of the district’s practices and educational outcomes “to ensure every student has access to and participates in meaningful learning opportunities that result in positive outcomes, regardless of individual characteristics or group membership,” district officials said.

Those participating in the focus groups will be randomly selected, Tracy Taylor, the district’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, told school board members during the board’s Learning and Teaching Committee meeting March 15.

“We have created a spreadsheet for randomizing each school’s list of families and students, organizing them by race/ethnicity and generating a targeted number of each race/ethnicity proportional to the school’s population makeup,” Taylor said.

At last month’s Learning and Teaching Committee meeting, several board members expressed their preference that people be picked randomly.

“We want to make sure we are executing this in a way that is the most responsive to what the board recommended,” Taylor said.

The aim is to have about 15 families per school participating in a focus group, she said. The content of the focus group discussions will be derived from themes that emerged directly from an equity survey.

The CEC will be the sole entity responsible for developing the focus group content and leading the focus groups. All focus groups will take place via Zoom and will have morning and evening options available for parents.

Staff and student focus groups will occur during the school day. Focus groups are set to start the first week of April.

“The CEC’s final report is designed to find the assets that exist within our district and look for opportunities to better serve all D-303 students,” Taylor said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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