Midwest District Network

We’ve launched an exciting new opportunity to connect and learn with other school districts from across the Midwest region who are actively engaged in efforts to increase educational equity for their students and particularly those students whom we have served least well in our schools and communities. This Network is supported by an innovative partnership between the National Equity Project, the UChicago Consortium for School Research, Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS), Shift Results, and the Collaborative for Social, Emotional and Academic Learning (CASEL) and will run for 2 years, school year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. 

Participating districts and national partners work collaboratively to apply current research and contribute to emerging research in the Science of Learning and Development (SOLD) in service of equity. Our core purpose will be to learn about, study, andtest approaches to teaching and learning in which every student engages in meaningful and rigorous work, experiences a sense of belonging, and contributes to the design of their own learning.

Learning Partnership Approach

Our Learning Partnership Approach is a collaborative, inquiry-based approach in which educators learn with and from students and families in order to transform instructional approaches, adjust systemic responses, and design new structures to respond to a diverse range of student needs, with a particular focus on students we currently serve least well in our schools and communities. In addition, the Learning Partnership approach involves working in vertical teams in order to leverage wisdom from various vantage points in the system to understand what is happening and co-design innovative approaches to increasing student engagement and equity.

  • District Leaders will learn how to work in partnership with site administrators, to create and support the conditions needed to increase student engagement and learning and maintain and expand successful Learning Partnerships throughout their system.
  • School administrators will gain valuable insight into how to work in partnership with teachers and other site-level leaders to learn about and test equity-focused approaches.
  • Instructional Leaders and Coaches will gain knowledge, skill and capacity to coach for equity, with a focus on addressing opportunity gaps in classrooms and schools through a learning partnership approach.
  • Teachers and their students will build shared understanding of the essential connection between culture and learning and apply what they learn to gain greater synchrony and increase engagement in the learning process.
  • Teachers will gain valuable insight from their students into how to design their lessons and create classroom learning environments that are inclusive and responsive to their students’ identities and learning processes.
  • Students will boost their sense of belonging within an academic setting, and experience the acceleration of success that comes with full agency as learners, in control of their learning successes and developing an integrated identity as full participants in their community and in the learning process.


  • Bloomfield Hills Schools (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
  • Chicago Public Schools, Office of Equity (Chicago, IL)
  • Chicago Public Schools, Payton High School (Chicago, IL)
  • Forest Park School District 91 (Forest Park, IL)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District (Madison, WI)
  • Oak Park Elementary School District 97 (Oak Park, IL)
  • River Forest Public School District 90 (River Forest, IL)
  • Rockford Public Schools (Rockford, IL)


The Network is supported by an innovative partnership between the National Equity Project and the following partners: