Creating an IPS community where student outcomes cannot be predicted by race or ethnicity is the vision of the Racial Equity Initiative (REI). The mission is to lead a collaboration of community members who will partner with IPS to improve outcomes for all students by eliminating racial disproportionality and disparity.
In order to prepare IPS employees to meet the needs of students, the district embarked on an initiative around racial equity. By partnering with the Racial Equity Institute in 2015, IPS is able to receive the training and guidance needed to increase staff knowledge, shift thinking and elevate understanding.
Training provided by REI engages administrators, teachers, parents, support staff and community members. The work includes establishing active School Equity Teams (SET) who partner with the District Equity Team (DEI) to:
- Participate in monthly planning meetings to develop measurable goals
- Engage in book/workbook study groups
- Review disaggregated academic and discipline data
- Understand racism in all its forms, including how/when/where it occurs at all levels of the school community, even without intent.
Teachers and administrators transfer what they are learning through REI training into the classrooms. The hope is to bring this important work to a wider audience of teachers throughout IPS, helping this new audience, as well as longtime teacher-partners, apply what they know about equity literacy and restorative practices to the district’s racial equity efforts.
The initiative’s anti-racism effort has proven to be so impactful in our district that the IPS Board of School Commissioners agreed during the 2018-19 school year to extend the work of the REI.