How EOS Partnerships Are Making the Greatest Impact for Students of Color

By Dr. Sasha Rabkin of Equal Opportunity Schools & The BELE Network

In the past few months, Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS) has been recognized for its work to center racial and economic equity in education and received investments from a cross sector of philanthropy to continue their mission. EOS partners with schools and districts to operationalize their commitments to racial equity through creative, real time data analytics to ensure low-income and students of color have access to, and the opportunity to succeed. EOS has focused on serving those furthest from opportunities and has supported schools and districts to add over 50,000 low-income and students of color to advanced academic pathways.

We checked in with EOS’ Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Sasha Rabkin, to learn more about who they’re working with, how they’re using data and technology to measure results and build equitable learning environments and their hopes for education in 2021.

Over the last few months, EOS has partnered with the following organizations to improve the accessibility of advanced learning classes to students of color and low-income students.

  • New Profit: The national venture philanthropy organization invested $1 million in EOS and additional strategic support to help CEO Byron V. Garrett and his team expand the organization’s impact through leadership and board development and strategic planning for growth.
  • Microsoft: As a recipient of Microsoft Corp.’s Nonprofit Tech Acceleration (NTA) program for Black and African American communities, EOS will be given the resources to scale their work and increase the impact on communities they serve.
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: EOS was awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to launch and scale its Measures That Matter Initiative (MTMI), which will improve EOS’ Action For Equity Framework, the nonprofit’s flagship education equity program aimed at granting unidentified students access to the most academically intense high school programs.

In addition, EOS is partnering with the Kingmakers of Oakland, another member of the BELE Network, to address Black male achievement and expand impact in the Bay Area through initiatives like the Rising STEM Scholars. Currently, EOS and KOO are planning to launch an RFP for districts in the southern region focused on the development of a network of schools committed to liberatory, equitable learning environments.

EOS has also just launched their Measures that Matter Initiative. The EOS Measures that Matter Initiative will support the measurement, data analytics, and innovation needed to strengthen equitable, anti-racist learning environments. There are several areas of innovation that EOS brings to this effort, including field leading knowledge base, innovation infrastructure, implementation expertise, delivery systems, and data visualization capacity. In addition, the EOS network of 400 school partners has the potential to serve as a powerful incubation space.

As EOS thinks about post-COVID-19 in-person learning, relationships in educational environments, focus on relevant identity and meaning, emphasizing a targeted universalist approach, and ensuring every student is visible is top of mind. EOS data from student surveys during COVID-19 found that 77% of low income and students of color reported becoming “more aware of inequality” during the pandemic. With a new administration, Rabkin hopes leadership in the Department of Education will be willing to take risks, encourage innovation, and adapt to change in order to respond to the largest educational crisis in modern times.

This year, EOS has its largest portfolio of schools ever and is currently accepting applications for the 2021–2022 School and District Cohort. To learn more about EOS, visit www.eoschools.org.

Equal Opportunity Schools is a national organization serving school districts of all sizes. We are here to help better serve students of color and low-income students and improve the accessibility of advanced learning classes. We provide tools such as a gaps chart analysis, equity pathways reports, beginning and end-of-year student/administrator surveys, best practices from more than 650 schools in 210+ districts across 33 states, and support to make equity and improved access to rigorous courses a district priority.

The BELE Network is dedicated to reimagining our inequitable school system that has failed too many for too long, and is committed to transforming our classrooms into learning environments that nurture the intellectual, emotional and cultural growth of all students — especially students of color.

Learn more about BELE on our website, and access our resource library to get the best and most up-to-date thinking on how to make learning environments more equitable.

We are committed to creating learning environments that equitably support every student — especially students of color and low-income students. belenetwork.org

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