Essex Westford School District looks to diversity data to help cut bias

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 5:11 PM EST
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ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - The Essex Westford School District is releasing data that tracks equity barriers and successes for students in one of Vermont’s largest school districts.

They are tracking things like attendance information and who is taking which particular courses, including AP-level work.

The goal is to get social and emotional information to help find where they can shift resources and break down barriers for kids from all sorts of backgrounds.

This is the second year the district is releasing the data, which means they will be able to start tracking where they’ve achieved successes and where they need to focus more on help for students.

It’s all to help reduce bias in the system.

“Making sure demographics do not predict outcomes, that is what equity is about, is making sure ZIP codes and demographics are not producers of outcome, and instead it’s really about the individual, their interest, their passion,” said Erin Maguire, the equity and inclusion director at the Essex Westford School District.

“I’m hoping to see some gaps closing in the data that we noticed last year,” Superintendent Beth Cobb said.

The EWSD administration says that over the course of its work, more people are self-reporting experiences and how this work is impacting them, something which they say is incredibly valuable as well.

The data will become available to the public at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. It will also be shared with the district faculty and staff to help with resource allocation.

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