Build a More Equitable LCAP for Improved Student Outcomes

Districts that equitably engage their diverse community in the LCAP process see improved student outcomes. ThoughtExchange can help.
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August 15, 2023

Catherine Daly

A Guide to Creating Equity in Your LCAP Engagement

8 minutes

As education leaders across California strive to improve student outcomes, it’s essential that their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) are successful. This three-year plan, updated annually, is a way for districts to ensure they are addressing the needs of all students effectively — and equally.

Creating equity in your LCAP is an important task, but how exactly can you achieve this?

In this short article, we explore what equity in your LCAP means, how superintendents can identify and address inequity in their plans, and the best ways to engage diverse groups when building your initial LCAP and evaluating it annually.

In this Article

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What does equity in LCAP mean?

Students that are part of minority groups typically have poorer educational outcomes than those that are not. For example:

  • The high school graduation rate is lower among American Indian, Alaska Native, and Black students than White and Hispanic students.
  • Only two of every three students with disabilities graduated with a regular high school diploma and within four years of starting ninth grade.
  • A student who attends a school in which the average socioeconomic status is high, enjoys better educational outcomes than a student attending a school with a lower average peer socioeconomic level.

Equity in LCAP refers to the fair and just treatment of all students, regardless of their background or circumstances. It's about ensuring every student receives what they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond. This includes providing equal opportunities and resources to each student while also recognizing and addressing the unique challenges certain students might face.

The aim is to create an LCAP that effectively responds to the distinct needs of every student in your district, regardless of their socioeconomic status, language, access to technology, health conditions or impairments, or other factors that can affect their learning outcomes. Achieving equity in your LCAP means adopting an approach that is inclusive, responsive, and dedicated to overcoming disparities in education.

Identifying disparities and needs for your LCAP

In The Role of LCAP in District Strategic Planning, we outlined the steps that can be followed to create an effective LCAP strategic plan for your district. However, before you even get to that point, you need to recognize where inequality currently exists — and what the highest priority needs are.

Just as promoting equity in education is essential for student success, capturing diverse perspectives is key for your LCAP process. Here are three ways to ensure you capture diverse perspectives to inform your LCAP.


Use inclusive data collection methods

Before you start gathering data to create an equitable LCAP, consider concerns like the lack of time off work, difficulty arranging childcare, language barriers, and reluctance to engage publicly, that might inhibit participation from certain groups in your community.

Traditional methods of gathering feedback — such as town halls or focus groups — may not always reach those who are most impacted by disparities.

With ThoughtExchange, community members can participate at their convenience, using any device. Its multilingual capabilities ensure everyone can comfortably share and engage in their preferred language, breaking down communication barriers.


Engage diverse groups

When developing your LCAP, it's crucial to engage with diverse groups within your community. Each demographic group in your district – parents, students, staff, and others – brings a unique perspective that can inform and enhance your LCAP.

An inclusive engagement process should consider factors such as scheduling flexibility, the availability of multilingual capabilities, and options for unbiased participation. These elements can help foster a dialogue that respects and includes the diverse perspectives of your community.

ThoughtExchange provides a platform for open-ended dialogue that can be accessed at any time and from any device. This ensures a wide range of voices are heard, contributing to a more nuanced and comprehensive LCAP.


Analyze data across subgroups

Gather relevant and comprehensive data on student performance, attendance, graduation rates, standardized test scores, discipline rates, and other academic indicators. Ensure that data is disaggregated by student subgroups, such as race or ethnicity, socio-economic status, English language learners, students with disabilities, and youth in foster care.

Use the data to identify any disparities and gaps in achievement or access to resources among different student groups. Look for patterns and trends that may indicate areas of need.

ThoughtExchange’s built-in AI data analysis allows for the identification of key insights that can inform your LCAP. Districts can quickly identify actionable insights, ensuring that the engagement process is not only inclusive but also leads to concrete, informed actions.

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How to achieve equity in LCAP engagement

Building equity into the LCAP engagement process is crucial to ensuring that all voices are heard and that the plan effectively addresses the needs of every student. Here are some strategies to achieve equity in your LCAP engagement:

Establish an inclusive and welcoming environment

Create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all educational partners to participate and communicate openly about the LCAP process, its objectives, and the engagement opportunities available. Make information accessible through various channels, including websites, social media, and printed materials.

Prioritize outreach to underserved communities

Proactively reach out to underserved communities to encourage their participation. Collaborate with community organizations, leaders, and advocates to amplify their voices and ensure their needs are represented in the LCAP.

Leverage technology for inclusive engagement

Use engagement platforms to encourage open dialogue and gather insights from a diverse range of participants. Choose a platform that allows open-ended conversations, and fosters genuine interaction between participants. This encourages understanding, empathy, and the discovery of common ground, even on the most polarizing of topics.

Don’t forget to combine various engagement methods to reach a broader audience. If you must have in-person meetings, ensure you’re making them accessible virtually with translation options to foster diverse participation.

Evaluate and optimize engagement practices

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your engagement strategies and make necessary adjustments if required. Solicit feedback from participants to understand their experiences and ensure continuous improvement in the engagement process

By incorporating these strategies, you can create an equitable LCAP engagement process that considers the needs and perspectives of all educational partners, leading to a more effective plan that supports the success of every student in your district that aligns with CDE state requirements.

If you’re looking for a way to create equity in your LCAP engagement, get in touch to see how ThoughtExchange can help your community.

Catherine Daly
Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Catherine is a professional writer based in Vancouver, B.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism (for passion), a master’s degree in marketing (to pay the bills), and has over 15 years of experience working with big tech brands like Adobe, Hootsuite, HP, Oracle, PayPal, and ThoughtExchange.

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