Striving to be equal opportunity school
November 14, 2016 By:Hunter Watson
By Adam Patton
Equality is about giving each student equal opportunities, but some students need more help to get equal results. It’s called equity and due to a program called Equal Opportunity Schools, E.O.S., and a survey taken last year by over 90% of the students here at McNary, the staff has been working diligently to improve equity around the school.
“Equity is about the endgame, getting all students to the same point,” Mr.Erik Jespersen, Principal at McNary High School said, “Equality is giving every student the same opportunities to succeed.” When E.O.S. helped McNary staff to look at the data they found that 54% of students were free or reduced lunch, 35% were latino, and students in A.P. classes were found to be predominantly white.
“Equity is about the endgame, getting all students to the same point,” – Mr.Erik Jespersen
Using equity the McNary staff has been putting forth new programs to make sure all students are able to succeed. One of the things McNary is doing to improve equity is opening up new A.P. classes, such as A.P. economics, A.P. human geography, A.P. geography, and A.P. physics. There are no required GPAs or grade levels to join an A.P. class but it’s not recommended for freshmen or people that can’t handle a regular class environment.
Every 3 weeks all of the A.P. teachers, the assistant principal, and the principal himself will meet to discuss accomplishments and problems they’ve notice with the A.P. programs. When thinking about fairness Ms. Susanne Stefani, Assistant Principal at McNary, who will be attending the A.P. meetings, said they need to think about “who are we leaving out?” and “Are the systems and policies we put in place inadvertently creating any barriers?”
“We need to know what those barriers are,” Mr. Scott Gragg, instructional coach at McNary, said, “and we need to find solutions.” Another program set forth by McNary is the “One Sport, One Club, One Activity, Every Student, Every Year” program. “Research says that students who find one or more things they like about their school, like a club or sport, are more likely to succeed and are less likely to drop out,” said Stefani. “Students that come to school for more than just academics have better grades, and better behaviors,” said Jespersen.
A common scene used to describe the differences between equity and equality, is where there are two kids, one tall and one short, both wanting to watch the baseball game on the other side of a tall fence, equality is giving each kid a box so they can attempt to peer over the fence and watch the game. The tall kid can already see over the fence without any boxes but the short kid still isn’t tall enough to see with one, Equality is where both kids get a box, giving them equal opportunity. Equity is where the short kid would get two boxes so that they can both watch the game, which would provide the same results for both kids.