Building for Equity

A Guide for Inclusive School Redesign

Why Building for Equity?

Many educators believe that innovative, student-centered learning leads to greater achievement for all students, especially students of color and low-income students facing barriers to excellent educational outcomes. However, student-centered school innovation will replicate inequitable outcomes if it does not include an explicit equity lens.

We believe that schools must innovate with equity in mind.

Without an emphasis on culturally responsive teaching and a clear assessment of existing inequities and barriers, the student-centered redesign movement could fail the students who need it the most. The field needs a new framework with practical guidance for creating truly equitable and student-centered schools. To meet this need, CCE has developed the Building for Equity framework and the Equitable Redesign Cycle, providing practical tools and an exploration of best practices at the nexus of equity and innovation.

What is the purpose of this guide?

"Unless you innovate with intention rather than novelty, those that are falling behind will fall further behind.” - Russlyn Ali, XQ Super School

This guide provides educators with a framework for driving equity-focused, innovative school change—along with the tools they need to bring this to life in their own school settings. Our framework aims to bind together the personal learning, process considerations, and design principles that drive sustainable, equitable school change. At every step of the way, we share examples from real schools, supplemental tools, helpful videos, websites to bring the concepts to life, and clear guidance to support effective planning and implementation.

Who is this guide for?

Our Building for Equity guide is for school leaders, classroom teachers, school design teams, and other educators who are ready to build a more culturally responsive, student-centered school. This guide ensures that both culturally responsive learning and personalized, student-centered design can be achieved together. If you aim to begin work that blurs the line between these two areas of school redesign, then this is the right guide for you.

How to use this guide?

Building for Equity is comprised of both a printed guide—downloadable here or available for purchase in print—and a website complete with multimedia resources, printable tools, and the essentials of our Equitable Redesign Cycle.

Reading the guide following the phases in order and complementing it with professional development will benefit teams working from the beginning on a new redesign project. We recognize that everyone has a different entry point, so we recommend that all users begin with an overview of our framework and then determine which phase best suits your school. Whether your aim is to better meet the needs of marginalized students in your innovative school or leveraging equitable approaches to begin a new redesign, this guide will benefit your work.

The Equitable Redesign Cycle

Building for Equity Framework
Building for Equity Framework

Phase 1: Establishing Our Team
Phase 1: Establishing Our Team

Phase 2: Rediscovering Our Community
Phase 2: Rediscovering Our Community

Phase 3: Envisioning the Change
Phase 3: Envisioning the Change

Phase 4: Implementing for Equity
Phase 4: Implementing for Equity

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An approach to teaching and learning that is flexible and adaptable, adjusting the system to the individual students and what they need to be successful in today's diverse, global world.
Students exercise voice and choice in their learning, embracing their individual strengths, needs, interests, and cultural backgrounds.
The ability to use the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of culturally and linguistically diverse learners as conduits for teaching them more effectively. (Geneva Gay, 2002)
Developed in a way that ensures a barrier-free environment for all students, ensuring that every student, particularly those within historically underserved groups, has what they need to be successful. To be truly equitable, schools must not only have equity of opportunity, but of outcomes.
The process of envisioning, designing, and implementing a school model, either from scratch as a way of redesigning and disrupting the existing educational system, or as part of the transformation of an existing school.