Equity Initiatives

Equity initiatives

Students gathered around a computer
  • Diversity and equity are key components of our strategic plan. Our vision is that all of our students will be prepared to reach their full potential and lead productive lives in a complex and changing world. Our goal is that by the year 2020, we will annually graduate at least 95% of our students ready for productive citizenship as well as higher education or a career.

    We are committed to working to eliminate racial or socioeconomic inequities within our school system by eliminating achievement gaps and disparities in student discipline.

Office of Equity Affairs

  • dr-rodney-trice In 2013, we created an Office of Equity Affairs. Under the leadership of Dr. Rodney Trice, it ensures that equity, diversity and cultural competency are part of our strategic planning and collective dialogue, and most importantly, that they remain an integral factor in our decision-making. We’re also adding a new position this year - Director of Equitable Discipline Practices - to monitor fairness, equity, and consistency of student suspension recommendations.

    Prior to joining WCPSS, Dr. Trice served as Executive Director for Curriculum, Instruction & Technology and later Associate Superintendent for Student & School Services and Equity Oversight with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Dr. Trice has served in leadership roles for professional organizations focused on educational equity at the state and national level, and has led numerous workshops for schools and districts around the country on promoting equity in education. Dr. Trice graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga). He received a Masters in School Leadership from the University of Detroit Mercy and Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Achieving equity in the classroom

  • Cultural Proficiency Training

    We train teachers, administrators, and support staff on cultural responsiveness and leadership practices that promote equity in schools. Our training includes honest dialogue about the systemic impact of race and racism on student achievement.
  • Equity Coaching

    We teach, empower, and expect our school leaders to establish a culture that demands equity and improved student achievement for every student by replacing the undermining beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions about students with the expectation that all students can and should achieve at high levels.
  • Access to Rigor

    We use achievement data to help identify students who are not enrolled in advanced courses, but could benefit from and succeed in classes like Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) and Math I in middle school, and Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school. This improves equitable access to rigorous courses with quality instruction.
  • Expansion of Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

    We expanded MTSS, a research-based framework that provides teachers with the tools they need to quickly identify students’ challenges and the most effective ways to address them. Timely data – including test scores, suspension rates, attendance, and more – help staff problem solve and determine the levels of supports needed for students.

Achieving equity in school discipline

  • Plan for Equitable Discipline Practices

    We adopted a multi-year, district-wide plan aligned to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights guidelines to eliminate racially identifiable disparities in student discipline data.
  • Criminal Court Diversion

    We collaborate with the district attorney’s office, juvenile courts, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, and several community and advocacy groups to significantly reduce the number of non-violent, misdemeanor school-based offenses for 16-17 year-olds that result in a criminal charge. Instead, the students are required to successfully complete an assigned diversion program and are provided resources to assess and address any underlying issues that may interfere with success in school. 
  • Restorative Justice

    We implemented restorative justice practices to reduce disproportionate discipline and provide an alternative to suspensions by addressing the root causes of misbehavior. Students are empowered to take responsibility, resolve conflicts, repair harm, and successfully rejoin the school community.
  • School Resource Officer Agreement

    We developed a Memorandum of Understanding with all of our municipalities that clarifies the roles of school resource officers (SROs), requires specialized training, and establishes a system for collecting and reporting data to assess disparities.

Community Partnerships

    • Community Equity Leadership Team includes community leaders, faith-based organizations, and civic groups to advise the school system on equity-related issues, concerns, and initiatives
    • Community in Schools of Wake County provides students in economically disadvantaged communities with support through learning centers, SMART Academy programs, and graduation coaches to empower students to stay in school and achieve in life
    • Helping Hands Mentor Program provides academic and personal development support to African-American male students through adult mentors
    • NC Society of Hispanic Professionals hosts educational programs and initiatives to lower the dropout rate of Hispanic students in North Carolina and provide them with access to higher education
    • Backpack Buddies brings together Interfaith Food Shuttle, local corporations, civic and faith-based groups, and individuals to provide students from food-insecure homes with healthy weekend meals during the school year
    • Growing Youth Food Security Leaders, in partnership with United Way, puts youth at the center of developing solutions to childhood hunger through service learning clubs at middle schools in low-wealth communities
    • Youth Thrive uses data-driven decision making to identify gaps and align services from its collaborative of youth-serving organizations to reach all youth and help them towards becoming thriving adults
    • Campbell Law School’s Restorative Justice Clinic uses mediation to help students resolve conflicts with one another to foster collaborative healing, rather than seeking punishment for wrongdoings.

Latest News


You can reach the Office of Equity Affairs at (919) 694-0524. 
  • Get involved

    We need volunteers and mentors in our schools. Contact a school in your community to get involved.

Our results

  • Four-Year Graduation Rate

    Students graduating within four years during the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 school years.

    All Students  6.1 percentage point increase
    African-American students  12.2 percentage point increase
    Hispanic students  7.8 percentage point increase
    Students with disabilities  10.7 percentage point increase

     Source: Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate, NCDPI

  • Performance Above Grade Level

    Students scoring 4 or 5 on End-of-Course and End-of-Grade tests in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.

    All Students  3.8 percentage point increase
    African-American students  4.6 percentage point increase
    Hispanic students  2.7 percentage point increase
    Students with disabilities  0.6 percentage point increase

    Source: EOC and EOG Achievement Level Report, NCDPI

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Enrollment

    Number of AP classes taken in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.

    All Students  23 percent increase
    African-American students  50 percent increase
    Hispanic students  26 percent increase
    Students with disabilities  16 percent increase

    Source: Accountability Course Membership Files, NCDPI

  • Total Suspensions

    Incidents of suspensions in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15.

    All Students  34 percent reduction
    African-American students  29 percent reduction
    Hispanic students  36 percent reduction
    Students with disabilities  21 percent reduction

    Source: Suspension Data from the Office of Due Process, WCPSS