A Networked Improvement Community Approach to Equitable Literacy in Urban Schools

How can a networked improvement community facilitate the creation of school-based solutions to improve literacy outcomes for Black and Latinx students?

Achievement gaps in reading between Black and Latinx students and White students are pervasive across the United States. In response, school districts often implement evidence-based interventions that do not account for deeper inequities in school-based opportunities to engage in literacy learning in meaningful and culturally supportive ways. In partnership with the Boston Public Schools, Coleman and colleagues will examine how school-based equity roundtables (SBERTs)—monthly meetings of families, students, and school leaders and staff facilitated by a local nonprofit—uncover the root causes of low levels of literacy proficiency in each context and iteratively develop and examine the efficacy of curricular practices designed by and for Black and Latinx students. They will use interviews, observations, and document analysis to examine the implementation of SBERTs, the creation and implementation of ideas for changing literacy practices, and how these changes shape a range of literacy outcomes for Black and Latinx students across six schools. The study will generate actionable steps the district can take to support equitable literacy instruction for Black and Latinx youth, as well as a road map for how other Title I urban school districts can replicate this approach. Findings will be shared with district partners and stakeholders, policymakers, and academic audiences

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