Integrated Comprehensive Systems (ICS) for Equity

ICS logo
About ICS
In Spring 2020, the District adopted Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity, a research-based and multi-year approach proven to eliminate inequities by building the capacity of all educators and transforming systems. ICS Equity provides a framework and process to shift from a deficit to a proactive education system for all students. This framework is designed to help the District follow a multi-year, multi-step process that reexamines systems, realigns resources, reconfigures collaboration and learning, builds teacher and administrator capacity for “owning” equity, and brings accountability to everyone involved.

ICS was developed by Dr. Elise Frattura and Dr. Colleen Capper, both distinguished professors of education in the University of Wisconsin system. Dr. Frattura and Dr. Capper are leading researchers in equity and social justice in education. 
"In spite of decades of educational reform & federal mandates, inequities among students not only persist but are growing. To eliminate these inequities, leaders must understand how their current piecemeal approaches are not only ineffective but are exacerbating these inequities. Further, most equity work addresses only one aspect of inequities, such as culturally relevant pedagogy or developing culturally competent staff.  Instead, educational leaders must learn how to transform the entire educational system via Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity (ICS Equity). ICS Equity is the only equity-focused work that takes a systems approach to eliminate inequities." 

The Four Cornerstones of ICS Equity
ICS cornerstones
The Shorewood School District is currently working through Cornerstone 1.
During Summer 2020, the District leadership team fully participated in an ICS Equity Institute, which covered three full days of work with ICS Founders, Dr. Capper and Dr. Frattura, and was customized to the District's needs.
Then starting in September 2020, ICS for Equity coaches began supporting District leaders in facilitating monthly, equity-centered training modules for all staff. The modules are designed to help staff become more aware of their own complex identities, understand the impacts of personal and implicit bias, and analyze the historical and current effects of marginalization in education contexts. Staff continue to utilize professional development time to work through the ICS Equity modules and, at this time, each school has completed the first five modules.
ics cornerstones
Key Features of ICS Equity Include:
1) Research based on over 45 years of equity research
2) Rather than piecemeal equity approaches, ICS Equity provides a Framework and Process to shift from a deficit to a proactive education system for all students.
3) ICS Equity advances the learning of literally students in the District. Students currently succeeding not only will continue to succeed but will make additional achievement and social gains. ICS Equity also addresses racial inequities across race, ethnicity, social class, ability, gender, sexual/gender identity and their intersections.
4) ICS Equity includes a built in accountability system via the Equity Audit that measures equity progress and serves as a continual improvement feedback loop to the ICS Equity work.
5) ICS Equity embraces a local, bottom-up/team approach to equity implementation.
6) ICS Equity re-allocates existing resources.  No new resources are needed and all current staff are needed to advance the work."
ICS Community Equity Ally Academy Recaps

Session #1 Recap
Session #4 Recap

"ICS in Action" Videos
Staff Schedule
Professional development and capacity building are being provided to all staff on a monthly basis (started in September). The professional development will be provided by school staff and supported by administrators using the modules from the ICS corner stones. In our first year, the following 6 modules (from Cornerstone 1) will be used as themes for the monthly professional development:

    • Module 1: The History of a Marginalized System and Our Current Model​s
      Staff will focus on understanding the history of marginalization in the context of schooling pertaining to race, ability, language, social class, religion, gender, sexual/gender identity, and their intersections.
    • Module 2: Shift from Deficit to Assets-Based Thinking, Language, and Practice
      Staff will explore the differences between deficit and asset-based thinking. Deficit thinking in education is the practice of holding lower expectations for students with demographics that do not fit the traditional context of the school system. Asset-based thinking focuses on students’ strengths and building learning around those strengths.
    • Module 3: Equity Begins with Us: Identity Development for Systems Change
      Staff will work through their own identity development, reflecting on their personal identity and how their identities including race, gender and ability have been developed over time.
      Using personal reflection, staff will consider and evaluate the ways their identity and journey of identity development informs their daily practices.
    • Module 4: Apply the Equity Research
      Staff will analyze data and results of studies related to: heterogeneous classrooms, inclusion of students with disabilities, education of students labeled gifted, integration of students who are linguistically diverse, ability grouping, tracking, RtI, the link between poverty and education, and addressing LGTB identities. Staff will challenge their own assumptions, beliefs, and practices in ways that are responsive to what the research shows around equity.
    • Module 5: Equity Non-Negotiables
      Together, staff will develop a collective list of potential equity non-negotiables* that will be adhered to throughout the District as the grounding principles from which all work is guided by.
      * An organizational non-negotiable is an expectation derived from a set of principles or beliefs that is core to the mission of the organization and not open to interpretation or modification.
    • Module 6: The Equity Audit as the Driver of Equity Change
      Shorewood School District will carefully inspect its entire educational system, collecting data on staff, students, partners and volunteers, and examining how all of these people experience the system. This data will be used to set equity goals for the next five years.
  • It will be expected that the learning objectives of each module is operationalized and implemented at each school, throughout the system, and supported by administration and the school board.
  • The annual strategic plans for each school will be developed by the district leadership team and will be informed by modules 1-6 from the first ICS cornerstone.