What is Equity?

By Gail Higginbottom, District Principal Aboriginal Education

October 24, 2019

 

On behalf of the District Equity Scan team (Janet Zarchukoff, Laury Carriere, Jesse Halton, Dr. Perkins and myself), I wanted to share more information and explanation as to what the Equity Scan is and the rationale as to why we have begun this work here in our district.

The Equity Scan is a district wide initiative to discuss and grow an understanding of Equity for Aboriginal Learners.  The data clearly tells us that there is an achievement gap that exists as early on as the grade 4 and grade 7 FSA results, all the way to the top of our data with School Completion results and Graduation results.  The achievement gap remains relatively the same as we look back in data for the past 10-15 years.  This is not a district phenomenon, but rather a provincial one. 

The Equity Scan was brought to our district by two leaders in the province, from the Ministry of Education: Kaleb Child and Dr. Scott Benwell.  Grounded in research, data, and current trends, the Equity Scan seeks to inform, challenge, and address this data.  At this time, school districts across BC are also leading this research in their communities.  Each district is personalizing the approach; yet, the intent remains the same: close the achievement gap across BC!  We know that an achievement gap is an opportunity gap for students; the Equity Scan provides a framework to begin addressing this and changing the direction.

The Equity Scan presentations provide a district wide platform to build awareness on Indigenous student success and barriers, common language to help talk about equity and accessible data on where we are at here in our district. The Equity Scan is also an opportunity for all levels of the school system to dig deep and reflect on their individual relationships to Indigenous students and learning.  It is our hope, that this is a first step and one of many in changing the current trajectory of student achievement.

The Equity Scan has now been completed at all schools in the district, the ABED department, PVP and the school board.  The ABED department and school teams continue to look at individual student data and intervene earlier with individualized supports.  We are continuing to grow awareness through all district and school initiated events.  In particular, we will also be sharing two film events this year, with a focus on Equity and conversation.

The end goal is to build awareness and understanding of what equity in education is and ultimately work together to close the achievement gap of Indigenous students.  As always, my heart and my door remain open to feedback as to how best continue this work.

 

Gail Higginbottom

District Principal Aboriginal Education


Gail Higginbottom

By Gail Higginbottom, District Principal Aboriginal Education