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National Leadership Organization Touts HCS for Systemic Approach to Promote Educational Equity for All Students

February 15, 2023


(Hoover, AL) – The ELAM Leadership Institute, a national organization focused on addressing equitable student achievement for educational institutions, touts the Hoover City Schools District (HCS) for leading the way in promoting educational equity and improving academic performance for all students. In a news release by EdPower titled: A Journey to Systemic Change in Hoover City Schools, Alabama, the ELAM Leadership Institute shares its experience partnering with HCS and empowering its educators. 


HCS began its collaboration with the ELAM  Leadership Institute in 2018 to provide equity and inclusion training for HCS administrators and teachers in order to implement equitable best practices in classrooms. As a result, there was an intentional focus in the District on equal educational opportunities for all students, which led to a significant improvement in student achievement and academic performance. The news release describes how comprehensive measures integrated into curriculum and instruction have led to HCS being a model district in the nation for its work to promote educational equity. 


HCS Superintendent Dr. Dee O. Fowler said, “As educators, we work hard to ensure that each and every student is prepared to succeed as adults when they leave our schools. In order to achieve that goal, our teachers must reach all students in the classroom regardless of their different experiences and levels of readiness. Collaborating with the ELAM Leadership Institute has provided an invaluable experience for our administrators and teachers, especially post-COVID. Our district’s leaders worked diligently with school principals to focus on analyzing achievement data and empowering teachers to implement proven strategies for addressing educational inequities. This hard work recently led to Hoover’s success in reducing learning gaps for many of our at-risk students. We are extremely proud of this work and appreciate the ELAM Leadership Institute for being partners with us in this success.” 


In the news release, the ELAM Leadership Institute references a national study by Harvard and Stanford Universities that recognized Hoover City Schools for post-pandemic positive academic outcomes.  


The research used national and state assessments to evaluate learning gains or losses in reading and math over the last three years. The study recognized HCS for overall positive academic outcomes and substantial learning gains for students in poverty, Black students, and Hispanic students. 


Dr. Chris Robbins, HCS Chief Learning Officer, said, “Nationally, the average student lost more than half of a year of learning in math and a quarter of a year in reading from 2019 to 2022. This research also indicates that many subgroups, particularly black students, Hispanic students, and students in poverty, were negatively impacted by learning losses to an even greater extent than white students. But that’s not the case in Hoover City Schools, and what’s so exciting is seeing these subgroups make academic gains at a rate that is the same or greater than their average classmates in Hoover City Schools.” 


ELAM Leadership Institute founder Dr. Donna Elam says since the partnership with HCS began in 2018, the District has made tremendous strides toward leadership in diversity, and processes relating to equitable access and opportunities have become threaded throughout the fabric of the District. Currently, HCS celebrates the highest number of Black principals, teachers, and District administrators in the school district’s history. Dr. Elam says the ELAM Institute helped to facilitate many changes in the District related to equity and inclusion and to address matters such as increasing data literacy, creating positive educational climates and environments, and incorporating collective efficacy into daily classroom routines.


HCS is beyond grateful for the partnership with the ELAM Leadership Institute, and District leaders see the positive results in the classroom. HCS looks forward to continued success with the ELAM Leadership Institute leading the way as a national expert in using data to drive instructional decision-making regarding equity. 


Read more about the District’s previous equity and educational initiatives. HCS engages in diversity and equity practices which are in action in our schools, but there’s still progress to be made. The district remains committed to supporting our diverse population of students, improving the diversity of teachers in the classroom, and providing resources to our teachers and staff to ensure all students learn and achieve academic success.