LPS introduces “All Means All” equity plan for district

The newest data shows most minority students at LPS are more likely to drop out, more likely to be suspended and less likely to enroll in honors courses.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The newest data shows most minority students at LPS are more likely to drop out, more likely to be suspended and less likely to enroll in honors courses. Lincoln Public Schools announced it’s new “All Means All” Learning Equity Plan designed to make sure every student can reach their full potential.

The plan focuses on graduation rates, positive behaviors, enrollment in honors courses and diverse staff.

Latest graduation rates show that overall, 81% of LPS students graduated last year. Breaking that down into racial groups shows some disparity. Here is how many students graduated by race:

  • 85% of white students graduated. This group made up 63.1% of all students K-12 in LPS
  • 92% of Asian students graduated. This group made up 4.6% of all students K-12 in LPS
  • 72% of Hispanic and Latino students graduated. This group made up 15.4% of all students K-12 in LPS
  • 64% of Black students graduated. This group made up 6.9% of all students K-12 in LPS
  • 52% of American Indian students graduated. This group made up 0.6% of all students K-12 in LPS

Sarah Salem, the director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning at LPS, said the committee learned several things in developing this plan when it comes to graduation.

“They identified three areas, such as student transitions, how students earn credit and also instructional strategies that are in use in our classrooms,” Salem said.

As for suspensions and poor behavior, the data from the 2019-2020 school year shows students of color are more likely to get out of school suspensions.

Black students are 2.3 times more likely to be suspended. American Indian students are 1.7 times more likely to be suspended and Hispanic students are 1.2 times more likely to be suspended. In contrast, white and Asian students are 0.8 and 0.3 times as likely to be suspended.

“We’re looking at restorative practices, trauma-informed practices and looking at the whole child,” Salem said. “It’s our job to focus on academics, but it’s important to focus on how the child experiences school.”

Another goal for LPS is to focus on improving communication to students and families of color about enrolling in honors courses. The data from last year shows the disparity between enrollment; 58% of Asian students and 47% of white students were enrolled in honors courses from grades 6-12. 25% of Hispanic students, 23% of Black students and 13% of American Indian students were enrolled in honors courses.

“We don’t want any student who is capable of taking an honors course to miss out on that opportunity,” Salem said. “We know we’re missing some students who are capable of the work... We want to make sure all families know what that path looks like. We want to be transparent in how a student would be identified as gifted and what courses to take moving forward.”

LPS said it is hoping to improve enrollment number by paying for more AP test exam fees. The amount they’re able to cover will be determined by budgeting.

The fourth pillar of change in this plan is diversifying staff. LPS said it will expand recruiting efforts, ensure culturally responsive interviewing practices and increase teacher support.

Salem said making these changes is critical to improving the district.

“Our charge is to ensure that all students are successful,” she said. “If there is a barrier we are putting in place, it’s our responsibility to make sure every student has the same opportunity and access to high-quality rigorous instruction.”

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