Introducing our Equity Toolkit

Equity is the moral imperative behind all of the work we do here at the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. In this new toolkit, we have collected many of our favorite posts about equity, including analyses and syntheses about equity in general, how to support equity in professional learning and in classrooms, and examples of student projects with equity at the center. Find the toolkit’s permanent location here.

Equity is the basis of the middle school movement that we hold dear, which originated as a challenge to the status quo of junior high schools. As progressive educators, we promote shifts in education to bring more equitable outcomes, more humane learning spaces, and expanded opportunities for students to analyze and act to bring greater justice to our society.

We promote equity through practices represented in our toolkits such as positive Community and Culture and Identity work for inclusiveness and belonging; Proficiency-Based Education to focus on growth and cross-curricular skills like the Essential Skills and DispositionsPersonalized Learning Plans and Student Led Conferences that enhance student ownership; and engaging pedagogies like Project Based Learning and Service Learning.

And an important shift in the middle school movement over the last decade is the recognition that equity needs to be explicitly centered in order to be effectively pursued. While it may be a driver behind the work, and there are important practices that promote it, equity itself demands to be named, analyzed, researched, learned, taught, and applied. Please see below for some of our favorite blog posts that address equity head-on.


On equity in education and middle school


Supporting professional learning about equity


Culturally Responsive Practices series


Examples of projects with students that center equity

  • Equity, identity, and art by Life LeGeros
    • Christie Nold’s 6th grade social studies unit. Includes some of Christie’s curriculum materials, interviews with students, and a poetry reading by a student.
  • Challenging simplified notions of health equity in the middle grades by Lindsay McQueen
    • Lindsay McQueen’s presentation at the 2021 Middle Grades Conference. Includes video and slides from the presentation, slides used with students during the unit, and an example of a student project.
  • Flood Brook’s classroom library audit by Flood Brook Middle School
    • Middle school students created “bar graphs” by stacking books in different categories. They analyzed the data and developed insightful takeaways.
  • Bright spots and belly flops by Sam Nelson
    • Sam Nelson reflects on his inquiry question “How can students use social justice as a lens for designing curriculum?” He provides examples of how he and his student planning committee integrated social justice throughout the school year.
  • Art for action at Rutland Middle School by Rachel Mark
    • Middle schoolers used the UN Global Goals and a tour of social justice art projects in their town to inspire their own creations.
  • On fostering brave spaces by Grace Gilmour
    • Grace Gilmour’s presentation at the 2021 Middle Grades Conference about a grade 7-8 Humanities unit. Includes video, transcript, description of activities, and student reflections.
  • The #everydaycourage of talking about race in Vermont schools by Jeanie Phillips
    • Provides resources and tips for talking about race by tracing Christie Nold’s 6th grade student’s learning and actions related to hate speech at their school.

Life LeGeros

Life has worked in various roles in K-12 education, including classroom teacher, assistant principal, math department head, state agency administrator, and school board teacher representative. His dissertation focused on the impact of math teachers' knowledge on the growth of their students. He believes in teacher leadership, student empowerment, and challenging the status quo. He loves being immersed in tech-rich and outdoor environments, though not simultaneously. Find him on Twitter @lifelegeros.

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