In an effort to advance the District's mission of helping all learners to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society, the District's Equity Team includes an equity and inclusion specialist and cultural liaisons that serve to enhance student and family engagement with EPS and helping staff build personal connections with all students and families.
The Equity and Inclusion Specialist supports students' personal, social and academic achievement through targeted guidance, outreach, consultation and education services for students, families and staff. In addition, the Equity and Inclusion Specialist acts as a consultant to teachers, administrators and other staff regarding culture, heritage and background of African-American students and families, while providing outreach and support to African-American students and families to promote positive school/family relationships and enhance student learning.
Equity and Inclusion Specialist
Edina Public Schools has three cultural liaisons to help engage and enrich the academic experience of students and families of Spanish-speaking, Somali and South Asian cultures, the district’s largest bilingual / multi-lingual demographic student groups. The liaisons help connect students and families with school sites and programs in an effort to develop and sustain a trusting and supportive relationship that will benefit students, families and the district. They also serve to facilitate communication between school and home, as well as partnering with teachers and staff to identify strategies that will improve student outcomes.
Research and data show that academic achievement improves when students and families are engaged with their schools, yet navigating the educational system can be challenging for families, especially those whose first language is not English or who are new to the country. The District's cultural liaisons provide assistance and support for students and families, while also supporting staff in building an understanding of intercultural competence and employing strategies that help ensure educational equity district-wide.
A growing concern with the historic under-representation of students from culturally, ethnically, linguistically, and economically diverse backgrounds in gifted education services impelled Edina Public Schools to take a more comprehensive approach to this issue. The YS model promotes the notion of nurturing continuous academic growth beginning in first grade. Early identification coupled with early intervention allow Young Scholar students to receive learning experiences that increase their self-advocacy and the likelihood that they will pursue advanced level course in both middle school and high school. The long term goal is for YS students to participate and succeed in Enriched and Advanced Placement courses and continue on to higher education.
AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination
AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness system for elementary through higher education that is designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance. The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS) accelerates student learning, uses research based methods of effective instruction, provides meaningful and motivational professional learning, and acts as a catalyst for systemic reform and change.
Although AVID serves all students, the AVID elective focuses on the least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple -- raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. What distinguishes AVID from other educational reform programs is its continuous success rate. Policymakers and school administrators now consider AVID an essential strategy for closing the achievement gap and making the college dream accessible to all students.
College Possible is a free program that starts during high school and guides students from low-income backgrounds as they prepare for college, apply and ultimately earn a college degree. Students are accepted to the program based on GPA, income requirements and an application essay. They meet with a College Possible coach once each week during collaborative time, and have a monthly one-on-one meeting with the coach. They also attend some weekend events during the year as an opportunity to meet other College Possible students in the Twin Cities.
The Edina Resource Center listens to your needs and connects you to the resources that can help. A partnership of Edina Community Education Services, Edina Public Schools and the City of Edina, the Edina Resource Center provides your connection to community resources, services and information in Edina, Minnesota. All services are free and confidential.
Edina Give and Go is a non-profit partner of Edina Public Schools focused on ensuring that socioeconomic status does not prevent any Edina Public Schools student from accessing the opportunities that exist in our community. The organization works to create access to arts, academic, and athletic opportunities that happen outside the school day and in the summer.