Why did WPS complete an Equity Audit?


In the WPS, we believe that every student who attends school in Westwood deserves to reach their full potential; to build the skills that will allow them to be successful; to ignite their interest in the world; and to feel cared for and a sense of belonging at schools. As a school system that is committed to these values, we want to ensure that our practices and policies foster, rather than impede, these outcomes for all students. With a core value of commitment to continuous improvement, we also believe in the importance of using data, reflection, and feedback to make progress toward our desired outcomes. An equity audit is a tool for this type of assessment.


Using grant funding secured through our affiliation with the METCO Program, last spring, the District engaged the services of Public Consulting Group (PCG) to conduct an audit of the District’s current practices and policies to help us identify what steps we can take to create an equitable school experience for all of our students. We asked PCG to examine our available data as well as gather additional data from students, staff, and families through focus groups and surveys. Based on that process, we asked PCG to provide the District with recommendations about where to focus our equity work next.


After an extensive process, the audit report identifies strengths to build on and recommendations for growth in four areas: 

  • Leadership, Policies, and Practices
  • Student Access to Learning
  • Talent Recruitment, Retention, and Development
  • Culture, Climate, and Partnerships

What were the key recommendations of the equity audit?


Equity work involves focused, sustained effort in order to create long-term change. We asked PCG to highlight a small number of high-priority, high impact recommendations to guide the District’s work in the immediate future. These priority recommendations will help provide coherence and focus for our work as a District:


Priority Recommendations: 3-5 Year Commitment 

  • Create an Equity Communication Plan to develop key messages around equity to share both internally and externally.
  • Select and implement an Equity Decision-Making Framework for all decisions made within WPS.
  • Develop an Equity Data Collection, Tracking, and Reporting Plan.
  • Hire a Director of Human Resources with an explicit focus on equity and workforce diversity.
  • Create an Equity-Aligned Professional Learning Plan to ensure equity and culturally responsive practices are embedded in every professional learning opportunity in the district.


At the February meeting of the Westwood School Committee, District leaders presented an overview of the equity audit findings.  The equity audit report is also available for public review.

How will the priority recommendations be implemented?


Equity work is embedded across all areas of the District and requires a collaborative effort with different groups and individuals playing different roles:


The Superintendent, the Director of Equity, Integration, and Community Partnerships, and the Equity Leaders will ensure that the WPS Strategy for District Improvement incorporates the recommendations. They will articulate specific action steps and timelines and monitor progress.


District and School Leaders will develop programmatic changes and budget recommendations to support priorities and will communicate clearly and consistently about the connection between these initiatives and the vision for educational equity.


School Committee Members will re-examine WPS policies with a focus on equity.


PTO Leaders will promote broad community engagement in equity efforts and provide feedback to District leaders about communication and programmatic efforts.


Student Leaders will provide feedback about students’ experience and promote school-based programming to support a culture of belonging. 

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