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Culture and Practice of Equity and Belonging Journey

We are excited to share a draft narrative of our equity journey that describes our history and commitment to equity, as well as our current work. This will soon be designed into a formal document.

Culture and Practice of Equity and Belonging Journey

I.  Overview

This document reflects our beliefs and practices, which are foundational to our culture and practice of equity.  These convictions and actions are a response to the unfortunate reality that due to society’s long-standing racism and injustice, class and ethnicity continue to be strong predictors of student achievement, career and college success and successful life experiences.  It’s paramount that our own institutional practices and beliefs intentionally address these disparities.  We are committed  to confronting any systemic racism by cultivating a Glenbard culture of inclusion, belonging and high achievement for every student.

State education organizations that we partner with have powerful equity statements that guide our equity work:

Illinois State Board of Education Equity Statement
Illinois has an urgent and collective responsibility to achieve educational equity by ensuring that all policies, programs, and practices affirm the strengths that each and every child brings within their diverse backgrounds and life experiences, and by delivering the comprehensive support, programs, and educational opportunities they need to succeed.

Illinois Association of School Boards Equity Statement
Educational equity means that every student has access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education, and students’ needs are not going unmet due to race, ethnicity, dominant language, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion, family background, and/or family income.

Illinois Principals Association Equity Statement
The IPA values diversity and equity in our schools and in our Association. The IPA’s Diversity and Equity Committee oversees the Association’s diversity and equity efforts which includes ensuring the IPA’s leadership and membership are reflective of the profession. Further, the Committee provides critical input into the development of the IPA’s professional learning program, Model Student Handbook procedures, and legislative positions.

We are fortunate to have a student population and community that is diverse and culturally rich.  Our demographics include:


Through our Glenbard culture and practice of equity, our students, families and staff will be affirmed, treated fairly, impartially and non-judgmentally. Each student will receive the tools and resources they need to develop their full academic potential. Organizational equity will be achieved through shifting, adjusting and investing in policies, procedures, academic and cocurricular programing, intentional professional development and strategic hiring practices.

The actionable indicators of advancing our work around Glenbard culture and practice of equity will ensure we:

  • Foster respect-based relationships
  • Address and eliminate disparities
  • Provide resources, opportunities and supports
  • Update policies
  • Ensure access and opportunity
  • Maintain high expectations
  • Evaluate curriculum topics
  • Use culturally relevant literature and teaching practices 
  • Recruit and hire a diverse workforce
  • Celebrate differences
  • Cultivate empathy
  • Welcome and engage families

Our Profile of a Graduate and Profile of an Educator guide our work, including our vision of equity. Our Profile of a Graduate is a collection of capabilities that characterize our graduates, and our Profile of an Educator identifies the key qualities of the outstanding educators who work with our students and their families.

Profile of a Graduate

Profile of a Glenbard Graduate
Our Profile of a Graduate is our vision for the knowledge, skills and experiences our graduates will need to be successful in learning, work and life. Our graduates will: create, think critically, collaborate, communicate, embrace diversity and be self-empowered. The Profile of a Graduate is embedded in all unit design work, professional development, teacher evaluations and annual district goals in our Work Plan.

We are guided by the following key descriptions from our Profile of a Graduate trait of Embraces Diversity:

  • Develops personal identity
  • Respects others’ backgrounds
  • Fosters mutual respect
  • Understands one’s biases
  • Develops empathy
  • Affirms authentic self

Profile of an Educator

Profile of a Glenbard Educator
A racially conscious, diverse and culturally competent educator is critical in our equity and inclusion work. Our Profile of a Glenbard Educator features these attributes:

  • Empathizes
  • Adapts and learns
  • Embraces diversity
  • Innovates
  • Collaborates
  • Advocates  

II. Background Information

In the past 15 years, the initiatives and programs noted below have contributed to Glenbard’s culture and practice of equity. The progress of our relevant and effective equity and inclusion work today is, in part, due to the following efforts:

Minority Student Achievement Committee – This foundational district-wide committee, made up of students, staff, parents, community leaders and Board of Education members, met regularly from 2007 through 2016. This 70-member task force organized its work into groups that focused on:

  • Advanced Placement Enrollment
  • After-School Engagement
  • Human Resources
  • Parent & Community Involvement
  • Postsecondary Opportunity
  • Mentoring
  • Behavioral Interventions

The Minority Student Achievement Committee’s recommendations provided us with the momentum needed to continue this valuable conversation around equitable practices and beliefs throughout the district. A significant change in vocabulary to the Equity and Inclusion Committee and students and staff of color was made to convey our evolving understanding of purpose and affirming and respectful language in our work.

Courageous Conversations about Race Professional Development – Our staff is being trained in structured conversations to engage in, sustain and deepen interracial dialogue. Licensed staff, support staff and administrators are being trained in the Courageous Conversations protocol, which addresses racial disparities through safe, authentic and effective cross-racial dialogue. From 2018-2020, approximately 40% of staff have participated in this professional development. 

Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum and a Course Sequence that Supports the Growth of Every Student – From 2008-11, all of our courses were aligned with the Common Core Standards to ensure that each student receives a guaranteed and viable curriculum. Basic classes were collapsed, and all students were provided with a guaranteed and viable curriculum in either regular or honors level courses.

  • Each course’s standards, resources and semester assessments are aligned between our four high schools.  
  • Professional Learning Community teacher teams are integrated into Glenbard’s work culture where, through collaboration, instructors establish expectations and share best practice, student data and design interventions and supports.  
  • All students are encouraged to participate in Advanced Placement courses.
  • There is an expectation of a four-year course sequence of Algebra I through Algebra II with Trigonometry, and Biology through Physics that is outlined for all students. Data is analyzed by race and income and supports are put in place to help eliminate discrepancies.   

Today, the curriculum is continuously improved to best reflect the needs of each of our students and align with our goals of equity and inclusion. 

Board Commitments (formerly Beliefs and Convictions)
During the 2012-13 school year, the Board of Education and administration had an extensive discussion about our beliefs and convictions and collaboratively developed a document that details the following key principles: 

  1.   We are committed to ensuring a course sequence that prepares students for college, the global workforce and personal success, regardless of their academic preparedness upon entering 9th grade. 
  1.   We are committed to closing achievement gaps with all of our students. 
  1.   We are committed to encouraging all students to “level up” to more challenging coursework in an area of interest. This commitment is informed by the research that shows abilities, including intelligence, are not fixed but rather grow with dedication and hard work (growth mindset). 
  1.   We are committed to deploying evidence-based instructional practices that develop students’ knowledge and skills in order to succeed after high school. We commit to:
  • Meet the demands of state and national standards for critical reasoning, creative thinking, and rigorous reading/writing,
  • Accelerate struggling students through the classroom intervention process,
  • Apply formative assessment practices that engage and motivate students in the learning process,
  • Foster independent, creative and self-directed learning and
  • Leverage instructional technology as a tool. 
  1.   We are committed to improving student success through developing and deploying practices for both academic proficiency and Social Emotional Learning. 
  1.   We are committed to providing opportunities that encourage students to explore areas of interest beyond the four core subjects. 
  1.   We are committed to fostering an inviting culture that engages students in an array of extracurricular opportunities that reflect the interests of students from diverse backgrounds. 

      8.  We are committed to building a staff that reflects the diversity of our student body and our community. 

  1.   We are committed to investing in resources and programs that support the educational success of our students while maintaining fiscal responsibility. 

The above commitments guided our work in establishing our ambitious goals for student achievement. 

Board of Education Metric Scorecard and National Rankings
We have a legacy of setting ambitious goals for student achievement. In 2013, the Board of Education began a district scorecard that designated key annual achievement targets, including: 

  • Semester course passing rates
  • SAT college readiness scores
  • Percentage of juniors enrolled in Physics or higher
  • Percentage of juniors enrolled in Algebra II with Trigonometry or higher
  • Seniors who pass one or more Advanced Placement courses
  • Students who participate in athletics or activities

Also, each school tracks and updates its individual scorecard.  Each school contributes to the progress on the overall district scorecard by identifying disproportionate performance by student groups and implementing key strategies and interventions.

Between 2013 and 2020, key gains in the Board of Education metrics included:

  • The percentage of BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of color) students enrolled in Algebra II with Trigonometry or higher by 11th grade has increased from 54% in 2012-13 to 89% in 2020-21.
  • The percentage of BIPOC students enrolled in Physics or higher by 11th grade increased from 27% in 2012-13 to 76% in 2020-21.
  • The percentage of BIPOC students enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement course before graduation increased from 50% in 2013-14 to 69% in 2020-21.

We believe that by giving more students access to advanced coursework, student achievement increases. Our schools have consistently ranked among the top high schools in the nation. We have been recognized for our students’ growth and achievement by: 

  • The U.S. News & World Report ranking of high schools across the country based on AP enrollment and success, math and reading proficiency, curriculum rigor, and graduation rate. Today, our four high schools are ranked in the top 15% in the nation. 
  • The Washington Post and Challenge Index ranking our four high schools in the top 7% in the nation. Criteria includes course rigor and student socioeconomic status. 

Equal Opportunity Schools and Increasing AP Enrollment – To increase Advanced Placement enrollment among Black, Latinx and underserved students, we began a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) in 2014.  EOS, which is a nonprofit organization, provides customized insight into identifying students who have the skills to succeed in AP coursework, recruiting strategies and support structures for students. Our partnership with EOS generated the following results from 2015-19:

  • Adding an additional 800 traditionally underrepresented students to AP courses.
  • Maintaining our 73% or higher AP exam passing rate, which exceeds the national average.
  • Achieving a record high 47% on the College Board Equity and Excellence threshold. This is twice the Illinois state average. The score denotes seniors who passed one or more AP exams.

Access and Opportunities through Student Leadership Experiences  Each year, our Equity & Inclusion Committee develops programs to support our students of color and first generation students. Students who are the first in their family to attend college are known as first generation. Events include:

  • College night for families
  • College field trips 
  • College and career fairs 
  • Multiple leadership summits 
  • Culminating leadership expo that highlights all of the student events

Glenbard Parent Series – Outreach to Families – Almost 50 Glenbard Parent Series (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families programs are offered annually for caregivers, staff and students. GPS is an educational consortium dedicated to presenting distinguished, relevant clinicians and educators who share research-based knowledge to enhance positive youth development, social-emotional learning and well-being. Free events are held during the day, evening and on Saturdays. There are programs for families of teens, middle school children and children as young as age 3.

We also offer a GPS Spanish series of programs in partnership with our Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee (B-PAC). Additionally, events are hosted by our Families United in Support of Equity and Excellence (FUSE) for all students, especially those who identify as Black or African American. FUSE is co-sponsored by the DuPage County Branch NAACP. 

Recruitment, Hiring, Mentoring and Retaining Diverse Staff Research has shown the importance of having a licensed staff that reflects the diversity of the student population. We have made and continue to make a concerted effort to recruit, hire, mentor and retain the most qualified applicants and increase the percentage of licensed staff of color. This can be accomplished in the following ways:

  • Recruiting more graduates from universities with larger populations of educators of color
  • Looking beyond traditional recruitment to use social media more widely
  • Tracking the percentage of applications from candidates of color
  • Utilizing various collegial networks to advertise openings. 

Licensed Staff Of Color

III. Continuing the Key Equity Work in 2020-21

Moving forward, we will continue the work of aligning our systems and processes where equity is a priority. Through continuous improvement, we are committed to building an environment where diversity is valued, families are appreciated and each student is respected, encouraged and supported in achieving educational outcomes. In addition, we are committed to integrating the competencies of our Profile of a Graduate and Profile of an Educator into our actions, Glenbard culture and all teaching and learning experiences. 

The following are nine key work areas that will enable us to continue to build a Glenbard culture and practice of equity.

  1. Equity-Centered Board of Education Policies and Procedures

As the Board of Education fulfills its governance role, board members will ensure the goal of equity for all students is integrated into all policies and procedures. All written language will advance our students, families and staff being affirmed, treated fairly, impartially and non-judgmentally. Additionally, policies and procedures will ensure all students receive the tools and resources they need to develop their full academic potential.

  1. Equitable Access & Opportunity for High Levels of Achievement
    We are committed to ensuring that each student has access to multiple pathways to succeed in college, careers and community through targeted outreach. Examples include:
  • Partnering with Equal Opportunity Schools to ensure equitable access to Advanced Placement coursework for all students.
  • Ongoing supports to ensure that an increased number of students of color are enrolled in advanced math and science coursework. 
  • Supports for each student to develop a clear postsecondary plan and realize their post-high school goals. 
  • Counseling teams offer specialized support to first-generation college students to develop postsecondary plans. 
  • Free after-school SAT prep course for all juniors, with a bilingual SAT prep course available in 2021 for the first time. Considerable enrollment outreach to provide opportunities for all students.
  1. Equitable and Accessible Curriculum and Instructional Practices
    We are committed to curriculum development that focuses on inclusion and embracing diversity and aligns with the Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching Standards. Examples include:
  • Approval of a new African American Literature course for 2021-22 school year
  • Continuing to offer Latin American History course
  • Annual diversity audit of novels for English courses
  • Providing families with choices for instruction due to COVID-19 pandemic: in-person hybrid instruction or fully remote instruction. 
  • Students have access to two high-quality instructional models with a full schedule, electives and the same teachers, for both hybrid and fully remote.
  • Providing every student with an iPad, Schoology, G-Suite, Zoom and digital textbooks, novels and learning materials for equitable access to instruction. 
  • Internet access is provided to students in need.
  1. Improving Professional Practice through Equity-Centered Professional Learning
    We believe our staff should be supported through professional development as they develop the skill and will to engage a diverse student population. Our high quality opportunities for growth directly affect equity and inclusion work, including:
  • Courageous Conversations About Race professional development
  • Equity Literacy Institute professional development
  • Glenbard-led Women in Education Leadership seminar
  • Glenbard experts who are affiliate practitioners of Courageous Conversations About Race 
  • Equity and inclusion coordinators and liaisons at each school 
  • New licensed staff orientation includes belonging, equity and diversity in Glenbard
  • Evaluating and improving classroom practices around equity professional development 
  • Increased presence at job fairs and recruitment opportunities with traditionally larger populations of color
  • Coordinating with other school districts to increase incentives for students of color to seek a teaching license
  • Instructional coaches participate in Culturally Responsive Education by Design training cohort
  • Curating anti-racist, equity-focused book collections and book reads
  1. Equitable Systems of Support
    Systems of support are responsive to student needs, accessible to a diverse group of students, and support each student’s goals and aspirations.  These systems of support include:
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support provides and builds a positive, equitable and inclusive learning environment for all students
  • Course-specific support classes
  • Academic supports, including after-school homework help, targeted student tutoring, math and writing labs, and AP Café to support Advanced Placement students.
  • Extensive summer school courses with transportation provided
  • Free summer learning opportunities for incoming freshmen to promote day one belonging
  • Communication in preferred language 
  • Advancing educational equity through social emotional learning 
  • Restorative practices as an alternative to assist students’ development
  1. Glenbard Family Partnerships
  • Glenbard Parent Series (GPS) brings together caregivers, students and professionals to learn about issues facing today’s youth. GPS hosts national, regional and local experts in multiple free programs each month.  
  • FUSE – Families United in Support of Excellence and Equity for all students, especially those who identify as African-American or Black. FUSE provides families with the tools, resources and education to equip all students for success.
  • B-PAC – Our Bilingual Parent Advisory Council is a group of parents, guardians, staff and administrators who work together to meet the needs of students who are bilingual. It is focused on identifying areas of need for improvement that lead to educational equity.  Our monthly B-PAC Spanish parent/guardian meetings help parents/guardians develop leadership skills for effective participation in our schools and advocate on behalf of all bilingual families.
  1. Glenbard Community Partnerships
  • DuPage County ACT-SO is the “Olympics of the Mind.” High school students of color are paired with a mentor and compete regionally and nationally in the areas of the humanities, business, science, performing arts and visual arts. 
  • Lombard Allies for Racial Justice is a nonpartisan organization focused on the guiding principle that we must take immediate action to dismantle racism. 
  • One Community is a grassroots initiative to celebrate and embrace the community’s diversity dedicated to raising awareness, acceptance and involvement of neighbors of all backgrounds.
  • Glen Ellyn Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Project -The Glen Ellyn DEI Project provides a format for community members to learn more about the diversity, equity and inclusion activities taking place in the community and participate in open, facilitated conversations regarding their thoughts and ideas about diversity, equity and inclusion in Glen Ellyn.
  1. Diverse and Supportive Staff

Embraces Diversity is one of six key competencies for our Profile of an Educator. We are supporting this by:

  • Increasing our presence at job fairs and recruitment opportunities with traditionally larger populations of color
  • Coordinating with other districts to increase incentives for students of color to seek a teaching license
  • Continuing to monitor processes to maintain equity 
  • Creating a mentoring program designed to increase retention and satisfaction
  1. Student Voice, Belonging and Well-being 

These focus areas are embodied in numerous settings and provide opportunities to amplify student voices, provide brave spaces and strengthen connections to school communities.

Student Voice Examples

*Student sponsored

Our goal for the 2020-21 school year encompasses encouraging leadership among our students. Our students have engaged in workshops and been instrumental in committees that have brought change to and increased awareness in our school district.

2020-21 School-Based Student Equity Teams

  • Glenbard East:
    • Student Teacher Equity Partnership (STEP): A partnership developed in the English department to provide a supportive and engaging environment where students, teachers and eventually parents/guardians can engage in conversations about race, diversity and equity to strengthen relationships
  • Glenbard North:
    • Student Changemakers: Student leaders who strive to bring people together regardless of their social, cultural or political backgrounds and create awareness to unite Glenbard North’s community. 
  • Glenbard South:
    • Student Equity Council: A student group providing insights, suggestions and perspectives on how Glenbard South can improve opportunity, access and voice for all students.  The council provides an opportunity for students to be heard by their peers, staff and administration.
  • Glenbard West:
    • The Student Equity Council is a space for students to share their perspective and ideas; collaborate with others; and serve as ambassadors to create gender and culturally responsive equitable initiatives at school. They provide feedback to the administration regarding equity initiatives and ideas. 
  • District-Wide
    • Students Promoting Acceptance Respect and Kindness (SPARK) Ambassadors promote mutual respect, intercultural dialogue and equity within our schools. Students participate in training workshops to become ambassadors in their schools, working to create more inclusive environments.