Leading Your School Toward Equity

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A four-step process for effective equity practices in schools, with an array of professional development activities, leadership tips, and downloadable tools.

"Leading Your Schools Toward Equity by Dwayne Chism is published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). This book is a comprehensive guidebook for educators that provides a practical framework for implementing systemic changes that prioritize equity and provides a roadmap for school leaders to create a culture of educational equity allies who interrupt practices incubating intolerance within their learning spaces.

While local school boards and other forms of higher bureaucracy must reimagine policies and practices to support diverse learners, school leaders cannot afford to wait for the calvary. The hour for change is upon us and school leaders must be catalysts for change, bringing transformation to their circles of influence. Chism, an experienced educator and consultant, draws on his years of experience working with school leaders and educators to offer a practical approach to understanding equity and making meaningful progress in leading this work. The book is grounded in the belief that equity work requires more than just lip service and that meaningful change can only be achieved through intentional, sustained effort.

He outlines a four-step process for taking equity work beyond talk and into effective action. You’ll learn concrete ways to

·       Define and clarify equity. Guide even reluctant staff to a consensus understanding of what equity is, why it’s necessary, and what it will look like

·       Create productive discomfort. Use intentional dialogue to lead staff to a place where they can talk frankly about privilege, bias, racial inequality, and how these affect the experience of schooling.

·       Build efficacy. Help staff develop higher levels of individual and shared professional efficacy—the number-one factor influencing equitable educational outcomes—and create an empowered group of educational equity allies united for results.

·       Normalize action. Support the day-to-day use of an equity lens, a mindset that empowers all teachers to counteract stereotypes and rectify conditions that negatively affect students of color.

School leaders must find the bravery to take approaches to equity that build and sustain a better educational system that truly serves all. To make this complicated work a little easier, Chism provides a wealth of practical tools and strategies for each step of the framework, including assessments, self-reflection prompts, and coaching guides. Ultimately, classroom teachers' success in meeting the demands of equity depends on competent individuals leading change. If you’re committed to creating a true equity-driven culture, if you’re ready for courageous leadership, this book is for you.


As a black male student, educator, and leader this book spoke to me on a personal, emotional, and professional level.  School leaders have been discussing Equity and trying to crack its illusive code for some time now.  Unfortunately, in too many instances the conversation becomes stale, frustrating, and unproductive.  Dr. Chism provides refreshing insight on the subject and demystifies it for school leaders.  His examples are illuminating. His assessments are accurate.  And most importantly, his solutions are practical. Chism has managed to eloquently mix together theory, experience, and not so common "common sense" into a recipe for success.  This is a framework that can give today's educational leader confidence when addressing this complex issue.

- Dr. Jayson Strickland - Superintendent of Hogan Prep Academy

Dwayne Chism has answered the call for an equity book that speaks to the role of school leadership, replete with strategies for success. This needs to be in the hands of any school leader who’s serious about the infusion of equitable practices for EACH of the students in the building!

- Baruti K. Kafele - Bestselling author of The Equity and Social Justice Education 50

Dr. Dwayne Chism presented equity-based leadership and teaching practices during teacher’s institute at my site. His knowledge, passion, and conviction could be felt throughout the entirety of his presentation. Never have I heard or taken part in any professional learning around equity that drew all people regardless of race, gender, orientation, etc. into a unified commitment to bring forth action. The learning was practical, and we left knowing that no matter what issues or concerns present, “the answer is in the room.

- Javon Childs, Sr. - Principal Computech Middle School - Fresno, CA