News - Kane County

St. Charles School Board members to review results of equity audit

School Board’s Learning and Teaching Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Haines Center

The St. Charles School Board’s Learning and Teaching Committee on Monday will discuss the findings of a equity audit that was done to better understand where inequities exist in the district.

The St. Charles School Board’s Learning and Teaching Committee on Monday will discuss the findings of an equity audit that was done to better understand where inequities exist in the district.

The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Haines Center 305 S. 9th St., St. Charles. It will also be livestreamed.

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, each school district in Illinois will be responsible for publicly posting their progress towards equity on their school report card utilizing an Illinois State Board of Education developed continuum.

In addition to the audit, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago analyzed district academic and school climate data to look for any phenomena that might suggest inequalities with the district’s system.

“Both reports have been completed and provide insights into how we can improve learning outcomes for all students,” Christine Igoe, assistant superintendent of educational services and Tracy Taylor, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, said in a presentation to board members. “Overall, both reports found that inequities were not widespread throughout the system; rather, there were pockets of student groups that warrant attention.”

The findings show achievement gaps are found along the lines of demographic characteristics “specifically students who are Hispanic and Black/African American and social economic status in the district that mirror national trends,” Igor and Taylor said.

Another finding is that Illinois Assessment of Readiness and Scholastic Assessment Test scores indicate an achievement gap by gender, with females significantly outperforming males in English Language Arts and males outperforming females in math.

Igor and Taylor said that generally, families reported feeling included, welcomed and valued at most schools in the district.

“However, there were reports of microaggressions and disrespectful behavior reported across racial/ethnic groups that need to be addressed,” they said. “The data collected would suggest a significant desire across all interest groups for a more equitable system.”

In June 2021, board members unanimously voted to pause its Deep Equity training until after an equity audit was completed. In March 2021, board members voted 4-3 to use Deep Equity — a professional development program from the California-based Corwin Company – to provide professional learning to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.

That decision followed three hours of comments from both proponents and opponents of the Deep Equity program. School Board members also decided that using different materials, the district would continue the training after completing an equity audit.

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.

As part of the audit, the group administered surveys and conducted focus groups. Administrative staff is recommending a superintendent’s committee be formed in order to develop an action plan based on the audit findings.

The work will become part of the the district’s new strategic plan that is being put together. The committee’s scope will be outlined and provided to board members at their regular board meeting in September.