From Policy to Practice: Transformational Change for Equity at the Somerville Public Schools
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Davis, Jessica Boston
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CitationDavis, Jessica Boston. 2019. From Policy to Practice: Transformational Change for Equity at the Somerville Public Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThere is a legacy of institutional oppression in our country’s public schools that results in achievement and opportunity gaps. These gaps include predictably lower academic achievement and graduation rates, higher drop out and suspension rates, and fewer college and career opportunities for students of color than for their white peers. In the 2018 - 2019 school year, I worked with the Somerville Public Schools (SPS or the district) to acknowledge and confront the lingering legacies of oppression throughout the district. This capstone draws on that experience to explore how a district might execute transformational change to disrupt inequities at all levels. It examines the role of policy in transformational change efforts, as well as what conditions must be in place in order for policy to alter longstanding practices. My strategic project focused primarily on working with the Somerville Public Schools School Committee (SC) to draft and pass an equity policy that would then be the foundation for new district initiatives to increase equity. Creating an equity policy is important to institutionalize efforts towards a more equitable school system for all students. However, in order for transformational change to occur in the district, key stakeholders, especially practitioners, must be co-creators and invested in the plan. The identities and positionality of the decision makers also matter when considering topics of equity. This capstone therefore also discusses how equity-focused leaders show up in all aspects of their identity, and how that identity impacts their work.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42063294