Alachua County Schools unveil equity plan aimed at closing achievement gap

Equity director Valerie Freeman presents plan to school board .jpg

Valerie Freeman, Alachua County Schools' first equity director, is working on a plan to tackle the achievement gap as well as the long-standing issues of disparity in the education system in Alachua county.

"This is a district equity plan that is supposed to close a gap that didn’t get here overnight and is going to take a village to close,” Freeman said.

Freeman presented the plan to the school board Tuesday.

The district says its goal is to greatly narrow or eliminate the achievement gap within the next ten years.

“The equity plan should have goals that are attainable, but they should be attainable once we do the enormous amount of work that we have to do,” Freeman said.

The plan outlines several focus areas for black students including raising the achievement level and graduation rates, cutting down on the number of suspensions and hiring more minority teachers.

It calls for expanding existing programs and creating new ones like personalized learning plans and intervention for students who aren’t on track to graduate.

However, Freeman says the plan is not set in stone – she’s open to listening to feedback and making changes

“If we don’t see the improvement or we aren’t reaching the goal then we have to be ready to have those accountability features and make those changes.”

The plan is the first step in what Freeman says will be a long process towards closing the achievement gap and getting all students back on the right track.

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