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Equity & Student Success

The Office of Equity and Student Success focuses on intersectionality and its relationship to equity. This includes the understanding that individuals cannot be singularly categorized by race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status and that people are multidimensional and complex. The OESS provides a wealth of intentional support to the staff and students, including:

  • Racial Equity Policy 7:12: In April 2019, the Board approved policy 7:12 Racial Equity, which was developed by a committee of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members. The policy holds the district accountable for eliminating racially predictable disparities in achievement.

  • Trauma-Informed Interventions and Restorative Practices: This work includes ensuring that district policies, procedures, and practices reflect an understanding of trauma’s role in student behaviors; providing direct support with restorative practices throughout the school; and developing and strengthening relations with community partners to explore and increase networking opportunities with health, mental health, and social service organizations.

  • Parent and Community Outreach: We help students successfully navigate through high school and its numerous academic and extracurricular offerings by providing access to resources that help students reach their full potential. We also coordinate parent events throughout the school year.

  • Motivational Mentorship Program: Promotes student engagement and enhances their confidence in the learning environment as well as establishes social emotionally safe pathways for students while they realize their own gifts, talents, and abilities. Develops student agency, aids them in finding their voice, and helps students reach their full potential.

  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports: Provides a set of systems, structures, and practices to build an equitable, inclusive learning environment for all students. Gives all students access to a great educational experience in the most inclusive, supportive environment possible. 

  • CARE (Collaborative Action Research for Racial Equity) Professional Development: There are over 500 staff members at OPRFHS, and almost all staff now participate in CARE team learning sessions to analyze their practices, relationships, processes, and interactions with their colleagues and students through a racial lens. The goal is to recognize both individual and systemic racial biases and eliminate them. CARE used to consist of only teachers analyzing their curriculum, teaching methods, practices, processes and classroom relationships through a racial lens by focusing on classroom factors that affect students most directly. We soon realized that students were affected by every adult within the building and every facet of school life, and if the goal is to truly eliminate racial bias, we had to take this analysis, learning, and discussion beyond the teachers and what was just happening in classrooms and expand it throughout the school.

  • Racial Equity Coaching: Two OPRFHS faculty members with an extensive background in racial equity leadership work one-on-one with teachers to help develop healthy racial consciousness, apply racial-equity concepts in their classroom relationships and teaching practices, and promote a culture of high expectations for all students.

  • Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN): OPRFHS is a founding and active member of MSAN, a national coalition of multiracial school districts that have come together to understand and eliminate opportunity gaps that persist in their schools. Administrators and faculty participate in MSAN conferences each year, and we also have a student MSAN group that focuses on issues of racial inequity from a student perspective.

Contact Information

Office of Equity and Student Success
Room 2131
(708) 434-3573

Dr. LaTonya Applewhite
Executive Director of Equity and Student Success

Melody Brown
Administrative Assistant, Office of Equity and Student Success

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