The Path to Dual Credit Equity

Implementing sustainable academic acceleration for students in Washington state and beyond

Overview

Stand for Children is a nationally-known advocate for equitable public school systems transformation across the country. In Washington State, Stand for Children WA helped drive implementation of a policy that, if adopted thoughtfully and systemically, would dramatically shift the trajectories of students across Washington. The Academic Acceleration policy, passed as legislation in 2019, requires that all districts in the state automatically enroll students in the next most rigorous course when minimum standards are met. The policy is meant to address disparities in access to upper-level courses, overwhelmingly affecting students of color and low-income students. Stand for Children WA led a robust initiative to support schools in adoption and implementation, including progress monitoring and convening district administrators and superintendents from across the state to share their experiences around systematizing equitable implementation.

Now, with the policy adopted by a majority of districts in the state, Stand WA wanted to know: what are the best practices and key drivers of equitable advanced course access? How do we know not just what is required by state legislation, but what truly drives systems change and academic trajectories for the students who are historically shut out? Given the deep research, progress monitoring, and experience of educators adopting and implementing this policy with Stand’s support, could we identify the levers that schools and districts can leverage to fundamentally create educational equity? With this important mandate, the Intentional Futures and Stand for Children WA teams began their journey together.

“The iF team created fantastic deliverables within a compressed, ambitious timeline– we appreciated their project management, and skill in keeping us on task while helping us prioritize and juggle priorities.”
- Kia Franklin, Washington Executive Director
“The iF team created fantastic deliverables within a compressed, ambitious timeline– we appreciated their project management, and skill in keeping us on task while helping us prioritize and juggle priorities.”
- Kia Franklin, Washington Executive Director

What we made

To assist Stand for Children WA in their goals, Intentional Futures employed a collaborative, equity- and stakeholder-centered strategy approach in getting to the bottom of policy adoption and equipping districts with tangible best practices to make change.

We drew on our deep bank of research to understand national policy trends, as well as to collect and create a new synthesis of best practices from our experience with Stand’s Washington district partners. By the end of our collaboration, we had created an assessment and set of materials to equip the Stand team and districts across the state to communicate (and implement) the key drivers of Dual Credit equity. Knowing that this state policy - and the best practices identified by industry experts and state practitioners has the potential to set the standard for states around the country, the Stand team asked us to create materials that could equip other districts or policy advocates nationally to clear the path to advanced course access for students and create legislation and systems change for good. 

Using stakeholder interviews, synthesis of relevant existing research, and case studies, the iF team identified the main drivers for district adoption and implementation, and leveraged the best practices of the districts who have had success with the policy. We created a dynamic report and journey map designed to clearly articulate the research and best practices of districts committed to academic equity. The drivers we identified include: 

  • Enroll students automatically using more expansive readiness metrics
  • Use data to inform decisions and create accountability
  • Empower students and families with access to information about dual credit
  • Provide training for staff to identify barriers and create asset-based expectations for students
  • Address barriers and capacity needs that keep students out
  • Create dual credit classrooms designed for student belonging

Be a part of the movement for dual credit equity: download the full journey map, and check out the full policy overview deck.

Impact

Stand Washington’s groundbreaking work serves as an example for other offices around the country, who are poised to benefit from the best practices and journey map that were created. Equipped with the deliverables generated together with iF, Stand for Children is ready to lead a self-sustaining group of educational leaders that drive measurable shifts in advanced course enrollment for students.

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