Leading for equity

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The National Equity Project’s Leading for Equity Framework provides a frame of reference that enables leaders to navigate the complex territory of equity challenges and to develop the capacity to engage in purposeful leadership action.

In its simplest form, the Framework helps build habits of mind that are continually in practice. In its more elaborated form, it provides a set of tools, frames and processes that leaders can use in their work.

What is leading for equity?

Equity leadership moves from the “inside-out,” as different from traditional leadership which tends to move top-down. How we See informs how we Engage, which informs how we Act.

How we perceive the world is our window and our practice of self-awareness mirrors what we see. Sometimes behaviors and practices that have developed over time have limited our capacity to see things differently.

The first step in leading for equity is becoming conscious of what has gone unnoticed.

The second step is to "show up" and engage, listen, build relationships and create strong "containers" for complex work. To act requires us to think about how we design, decide, implement, and learn; how we influence direction, bring focus to action, and engage in safe-to-fail experiments.

Often the goal of equity work is framed as closing achievement and/or opportunity gaps. Here we emphasize the goal of developing certain system conditions—that increase its capacity to bring about more equitable outcomes and experiences.

In this short course, you will be able to explore equity through a design thinking lens, and by the end, have a clearer picture of some key areas where your school might invest in developing system conditions.

Additional resources

Reading and insights

BELE Network. (2022). Using Student Experience Data to Co-Design Learning.

Datnow, A. (2018). NEPC Review: The Opportunity Myth (TNTP, September 2018)

Godsil, R. D., Tropp, L. R., Goff, P. A., Powell, J. A., & MacFarlane, J. (2017). The science of equality in education: The impact of implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat on student outcomes. Perception Institute.

IB Blog: Kam Chohan. (2023). “Three expert tips for schools embracing a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion”.

National Equity Project. (n.d.). Frameworks. National Equity Project.

IB professional development

Leaders engage the community (Category 3)

Strategies to increase DP and CP cohort sizes (Category 3)

IB Programme Standards and Practices (PSP)

Purpose 1.2: The school develops a mission, philosophy and/or strategy that includes a holistic approach to education that goes beyond academic development and encourages awareness beyond the individual and the immediate community. (0101-01-0200)

Leadership 5.1: The school funds adequate resources to implement the programme(s) and meet programme requirements. (0201-05-0100)

IB Excellence and Equity Framework

Dimension 3:Leadership and administration that establishes policies, practices, systems and processes to support access and success in the DP/CP for underrepresented students.

“The school leadership team regularly reviews and analyses existing barriers (and supports) for underrepresented student participation in academically challenging courses; and collaborates with feeder school leaders to align prerequisite skills.”

Visit the IB Excellence and Equity Initiative page

Elizabeth Marsh.jpg

Elizabeth Marsh

Digital Learning Designer, International Baccalaureate


National Equity Project