What is LEEP?

The Leading for Equity and Excellence Project (LEEP) builds the capacity of state boards of education to lead systemic equity transformation. LEEP professional learning events offer participants the opportunity to gain the skills they need to promote equity and equality through state policy development and implementation.

Why is LEEP important?

Almost daily, policymakers are reminded of the role that race and culture play in our society, yet they often lack opportunities for open, honest dialogue about the impact of race and culture on education. This lack of communication is one reason the education system continues to struggle to close the achievement gap and eliminate racial disparities.

With the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, the primary responsibility for ensuring educational equity was shifted to state policymakers. Likewise, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) also shifted in order to sharpen its focus on equity and excellence. LEEP represents the next level of NASBE’s commitment to promote educational equity for all students by helping state boards build their capacity to recognize and address inequities based on race and culture in meaningful, systemic ways.

State boards participating in LEEP will learn to apply an equity lens to policymaking using a common vocabulary and protocol for evaluating their equity work. Participants will also increase their confidence and skill to engage in meaningful conversations about the impact of race, equity, and equality on academic achievement.

How can state board members participate in LEEP?

During the 2018 pilot year, LEEP will offer two channels of participation for equity leadership training: the LEEP National Cohort and the D.C. State Board of Education Pilot. Each program will provide state board members with an opportunity to share their thoughts on a variety of education issues that impact all students, particularly students of color and students from low-income communities. Through interactive learning activities and thought-provoking conversations that focus on race, equity, and equality, participants will deepen their critical consciousness, learn about other cultural perspectives, and develop the confidence to lead systemic equity transformation.

The LEEP National Cohort is designed for individual board members who are looking for a network of colleagues from around the country to share their passion and commitment to advance equity. The cohort will have three in-person meetings this year in June, August, and October. The October meeting will convene members at NASBE’s Annual Conference in Denver where they will have an opportunity to share their work and engage in courageous conversations about equity with association members. Members of the cohort will be selected based on their leadership experience, commitment to equity, and interest in exploring the impact of race and culture on education.

For more information about the LEEP National Cohort, or if your board would like to participate in piloting the equity training strategy, please contact Kimberly Charis, NASBE’s director of school climate, discipline, and equity.