Opening doors for all Mukilteo students l Mukilteo Schools

By Marci Larsen, Mukilteo Superintendent | Dec 05, 2018

In last month’s column, I wrote about the development of our equity policy and why we felt it was important to undertake an effort that ensures a high level of success for all students. I told you how diverse our school district has become, both ethnically and economically, and how so many of our students face barriers that can impact their education.

I also pointed out that our focus on equity is a long-term commitment and that the issue isn’t solved simply with the adoption of a policy or with the attention of leadership. Addressing the issue is something that will continue for many years.

Our schools and departments are now looking at what they do through an equity lens. They are trying to open doors that might be closed to some students, changing practices, and allocating resources that will remove barriers so that all students can be successful.

One example of opening doors is an effort to increase the enrollment of under-represented students in dual-credit courses such as Advanced Placement or College in the High School, where students can attend classes in high school and earn college credits. We’ve already seen a huge increase in the number of students who have enrolled in dual-credit courses.

We’ve also created a committee to look at systems of support for students in order that all will have access to the same rigorous curriculum. Another focus is to help circumvent economic barriers that restrict access to an equitable education for some students. One result has been to reduce the amount of school supplies that families need to provide at elementary AND middle school levels.

As I wrote last month, equity doesn’t mean treating everybody the same. It instead means that we must strive to give each student the support he or she needs in order to achieve equitable academic success. Our planning, therefore, provides support for students. Along those lines, we’re looking to create an introduction to college course that would focus on the needs of under-represented students and on students who might be the first in their family to attend college.

Equity also means providing opportunities. Our plan includes increasing the number of students who participate in before-school and after-school activities. At ACES High School, funds also have been provided for a student mentor program that on the average has already resulted in an increase in grade-point average of 1.2 points.

Our planning is not just focused on students, either. The development of our equity plan will be an ongoing process that also will address training for our staff members in being aware of unconscious biases; the recruiting, hiring, and developing of staff; and ways to involve and improve communication with parents.

A focus on equity has become an essential component in our commitment to assure academic success for every student. Through these efforts, we hope to achieve a climate where a student’s race, ability, gender, economic background, or sexual orientation is no longer a predictor of their success in school.

 

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