Equity is the commitment to being responsive to the particular circumstances of students and communities.

Dr. Ronald Whitaker

Cabrini University


Equity work in Pennsylvania is a balance of implementation drivers that promotes system, data, and practice integration through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS).  This framework maximizes and more efficiently supports social/emotional competence and academic excellence for all students, with a thoughtful focus on who is and is not benefitting or provided opportunities for growth from your current practices. 

(OSEP Technical Assistance on Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, (2021). McIntosh, K., & Goodman, S. (2016). Integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support: Blending RtI and PBIS. New York: Guildford Press.)


What practices we choose to include and what we choose to omit speaks volumes to our commitment to equity.  System organization influences the ability of the adults within the system to reach a level of fidelity of practice implementation that produces impact.  Impact of culturally responsive practices are based upon data that is culturally validated.

Consider the intersection of process/fidelity, perceptual, demographic, and outcome data when determining the needs of your system and what practices you will commit to implement.   The tighter the communication and intersections of each element (system – data – practices), the greater the efficiency, efficacy, and opportunity for growth and success afforded to all within your MTSS framework.

As you begin to build a more equitable MTSS implementation, consider your own data intersections, your system’s current capacity, and your sphere of influence as you explore additional Equity Practice Resources


The Equity Practices Hub, developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, provides additional guidance and clarity on the defining elements of equity and provides resources to improve current practices within a school system’s spheres of influence.

    • District/School: In what way can the school district or an individual school become more equitable across their systems?
    • Classroom: What can teachers do, in manners of curriculum, discipline, pedagogy, and classroom culture in order to become better proponents of equity?
    • Individual: What can an individual, be it a teacher, administrator, student services professional, caregiver, or student, do to promote equity in their educational community?
  1. Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium Equity Audit:  How does your school provide climate, process, and content which enable students and staff to perform at their highest level? What strategies and resources are currently implemented or need to be further explored?
  2. How can I be anti-racist in a Virtual Environment:  As an equity advocate, this resource from the Leading Equity Center, offers five professional practices that help to ensure you promote equity within a virtual environment.
  3. Supportive Environments Create Classroom Community:  This online blog discusses the priority of supportive environments and developing practices that are authentic to building common culture that is inclusive and focused on school climate efforts.  Simple practices at the school and classroom level can make big impacts on an individual’s sense of belonging.
  4. Teach Teachers How to Create Magic:  Christopher Emdin discusses how teachers can inspire students by disrupting the world of education to create engagement in the classroom through reframing teaching.
  5. Pronouns: A Resource Supporting Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (GNC) Educators and Students:  This guide from the Great Lakes Equity Center, under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, answers the question, “Why focus on pronouns?”
  6. Black History Month: Teaching the Complete HistoryLearning for Justice, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has developed a webpage devoted to improving equitable practices for classroom teachers with strategies, lessons plans, student tasks, and unit plans at no cost.
  7. Count Us In: Advancing Equity in Rural Schools and Communities:  The Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium provides innovative resources for smaller, rural schools and communities to embark on the building of community and conversation of solutions for equitable practices and policies, with an emphasis on 2-way communication.
  8. When Bad Things Are Happening:  How do you manage discussions, concerns or curiosity of students when there are news breaks of disaster or violence?  Learning for Justice, the authors of the journal, Teaching Tolerance, have developed a step by step process to consider.
  9. Talking About Race in the Classroom:  A partnership guidance document between the National Education Association and Race Forward includes 10 practical strategies to improve climate, inclusivity and belongingness in the classroom.


Dr. Kamontá Heidelburg, University of Buffalo