Diversity, Social Justice, and the Educational Leader


The traditional equity audit itself is going through a reform process. The process began with Skrla (2004, 2009) reimagining the traditional audit with a focus on equity. However, researchers support the notion of using audits to disrupt and dismantle oppressive practices and systems (Khalifa et al., 2016) and involving the community to ultimately have power through the audit process (Green, 2017). Translating theory into practice can be more difficult when school leaders cannot rely on their personal training and experience to solve the problem. The purpose of this case study is to analyze how one urban school district implemented a community-engaged approach to address equity. The researchers used a single instrument to analyze grounded community-based participatory research (CBPR) to understand how a district can attend to equity issues in a way that includes all stakeholders. Three themes were identified from an analysis of the data during the study: 1) understanding the importance of building capacity inside and outside of the school building, 2) institutionalizing the work of equity, and 3) plan for resistance to the equity work. For those social justice leaders focused on school reform in a way that disrupts and dismantles oppressive systems, a community-engaged approach can address technical issues of the district. But, more importantly, it is a process to root out and deal with those deeper issues in a safe space so a new cultural story can be created and adapted to the current needs of the community.