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Cultivating Equity in Education Through Equity-Mindedness

Recognizing that shaping one’s mindset is often the most effective means of creating and sustaining systemic change, we cultivate equitable educational outcomes by fostering equity-mindedness* across educational systems. Every learner deserves the opportunity to succeed. The Friday Institute is committed to removing systemic barriers for learners. We honor the voices and perspectives of those who teach, lead and learn in NC schools and beyond through public discourse and cross-stakeholder convenings.

*We define equity-mindedness as the mode of thinking exhibited by educational stakeholders who are willing to: 1) increase their understanding of the origins and causes of persistent and systemic barriers to student success, 2) critically assess their own biases, and 3) take responsibility for the success of all learners in order to increase equity in education.

North Carolina’s At-Home Learning Initiative

The At-Home Learning Initiative was created to help solve remote learning gaps across the state, specifically for 16.9% of public school students who have a lack of access to a stable internet connection. With funds from NCDPI through the CARES Act, the Friday Institute facilitated the creation and implementation of 192 literacy and math lessons for PreK-5 students as part of the initiative for remote education. Reaching over 5.3 million households statewide on free public television, PBS NC could fill gaps in access through the new Classroom Connection program.

In 2018, the Friday Institute created the Students LEAD (Learn, Explore, & Advocate Differently) program. This was a first-of-its-kind online course to help students understand how they learn. As of fall 2020, the course was taken by over 10,000 educational leaders, and the student course was completed by over 1,450 students across the world. After participating in the Students LEAD program, students at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School reported gains in their understanding of their learning differences and tools that support learning differences. By far, the largest reported change was the 27% increase of students who strongly agreed or agreed that they ask important adults for what they need to learn best.

The Literacy and Community Initiative

In this webinar, Dr. Christy Byrd and Dr. Crystal Chen Lee discuss examples from two initiatives, #PasstheMicYouth and the Literacy and Community Initiative (LCI), to teach five practical steps on how to promote youth voices.The LCI program has offered 260+ hours of literacy instruction and community engagement, served 160 students and facilitated 10 student publications. Students have shown increased leadership, writing and speaking skills; advocacy and awareness; and representation after participating in the program.

MSEN Program Brings STEM Experiences to Rural Students

MSEN is a STEM enrichment program that provides 6-12 grade students from underserved populations with experiences that will equip them to attend a four-year college or university to pursue majors in STEM fields. The NC State MSEN program has served 548 students through their Saturday Academy, statewide STEM competition day event and summer camps. It currently holds a class or after-school club in five middle schools and two high schools.