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Making Equitable Schools Audit

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is partnering with Ohio school districts to develop, test, and refine the Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA) approach. This data-informed approach for high schools will focus on improving student sense of belonging by reducing the use of exclusionary discipline policies and practices that inequitably affect students of color and students receiving special education services. The MESA approach will support a team of school leaders in using data to identify potential sources of disparate discipline referrals and to implement policies and programs that equitably address student needs.

Current Projects

REL Midwest will work with Ohio school districts to develop, implement, test, and refine an approach designed to address inequities in school discipline. This approach will bring together school community members over 1 semester to examine data, openly discuss equity gaps, explore solutions, and develop a plan to promote equitable discipline. The research team will conduct interviews, stakeholder feedback surveys, and observations to address research questions related to the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of the components for the approach. The usability/feasibility study will provide information that improves the implementation of the MESA approach to improve student academic and social and emotional outcomes.
REL Midwest will support district and school staff to collect, analyze, and interpret data related to school disciplinary policies and practices. Over 1 semester, REL Midwest will facilitate an equity audit to examine data, discuss equity gaps, explore solutions, and develop a plan to promote equitable discipline. Following the equity audit, REL Midwest will provide 6 months of supportive coaching focused on discussing audit team recommendations, developing an implementation plan and timeline, and creating a plan to track implementation and results.

No completed projects at this time.

Product Type: Video | Publication Date: May 2024
Students learn best when they feel physically and emotionally safe, connected to school, challenged academically, and respected by adults. This 30-minute public television program—produced by REL Midwest’s Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: April 30, 2024
Time: 4:15 p.m.–5:30 p.m. ET Location: Strategic Data Project Annual Convening 2024, Boston, MA Description: Many communities across the country are working to confront inequities that permeate all aspects of our systems, including education. These efforts...
Product Type: Infographic | Publication Date: March 2024
This infographic highlights the stages and activities of the Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA) approach for high schools. The MESA approach is designed to help schools leverage community-wide relationships and existing data to build more equitable...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: February 27, 2024
Ohio school districts are invited to join the Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA) partnership, which strives to ensure that all members of a school community—including students, teachers, and staff—experience a safe and supportive school environment...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: December 13, 2023
Many communities are working to confront inequities that permeate all aspects of our systems, including education. Learn how REL Midwest is partnering with school leadership teams in Ohio to develop an approach that supports school communities in engaging...
Event Type: In-person Event | Event Date: August 11, 2023
Time: 9:15 a.m. Eastern Location: NCES STATS-DC Data Conference 2023, Bethesda, Maryland Description: Students learn best when they feel physically and emotionally safe, connected to school, academically challenged, and respected by adults; however, many...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: May 25, 2023
REL Midwest’s Making Equitable School Audit partnership is working with Akron Public Schools to develop and implement an equity audit focused on safe and supportive high school environments. This blog post highlights the initial equity audit with Ellet...
Product Type: Resource | Publication Date: February 2023
The Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA) partnership is working with school, district, and community leaders in Ohio to improve high school students’ sense of belonging and perceptions of safety and support in school. This handout provides an overview...
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: February 08, 2023
With the start of 2023, we begin the second year of REL Midwest’s current five-year cycle of work.
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: December 08, 2022
REL Midwest’s Making Equitable Schools Audit (MESA) partnership is working with Akron Public Schools in Ohio to reduce exclusionary discipline referrals and improve sense of belonging for all students.
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: October 04, 2022
Students are more likely to succeed in school when they feel physically and emotionally safe, connected to school, respected by adults, and academically challenged...
Product Type: Resource | Publication Date: June 2022
REL Midwest works with educators in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to support the use of evidence and data to improve student outcomes. In particular, REL Midwest seeks to address priorities related to the needs and...
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Illinois teachers in addressing gaps in students’ mathematics achievement with a focus on fractions. The partnership will draw on a What Works Clearinghouse practice guide to develop an educator toolkit.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Ohio high schools in identifying policies and practices misaligned with the needs of students of color and students receiving special education services as a way to improve school climates and reduce disparities in discipline referrals.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Partnering with school districts in Indiana to strengthen high-quality career pathways and programs of study at the secondary level, with a focus on increasing student participation in immersive work-based learning (WBL).
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Michigan educators and school leaders in integrating evidence-based strategies and culturally responsive practices into K–1 literacy instruction, with a focus on phonological awareness and phonics.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Iowa middle school leaders in using data and culturally responsive practices with the goal of reducing racial/ethnic disparities in students’ sense of belonging, discipline referrals, and absenteeism.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Wisconsin grade 6 teachers in integrating computational thinking and student-focused practices into mathematics instruction, with the aim of improving students’ mathematics engagement and achievement.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Supporting Minnesota school leaders in promoting favorable working conditions and in retaining teachers of color and Indigenous teachers.

REL Midwest Logic Model (74 KB)

REL Midwest Logic Model