School District of Lancaster Started Equity Initiatives in 2018, Deep Equity Training in 2020 and It Continues Today


The School District of Lancaster, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, began adopting equity initiatives as early as 2018 and then adopted Corwin Press’s Deep Equity Training in February 2020.  

Deep Equity was originally designed by Gary Howard, founder of the Gary Howard Equity Institute and author of the book, “We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools.”

Notably, Howard’s website lists one of his partners as The Conference on White Privilege.

School District of Lancaster’s website links to Corwin, a Sage Publishing Company’s Deep Equity materials.

The materials on Corwin’s website share what participants will learn:

Corwin’s Deep Equity information also includes a statement suggesting that their curriculum can help school districts meet the Every Student Succeeds Act requirements,

Below is a timeline describing how and when School District of Lancaster implemented its equity initiatives.

2018-2019: Timeline taken from School District of Lancaster’s presentation titled “Districtwide Equity Steering Committee” at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association 2021 Virtual Equity Summit

In a November 2019 letter titled, “Speaking out on civil rights,” former superintendent Damaris Rau announced that School District of Lancaster would implement Deep Equity training for all employees and a new formal mentoring program specifically for “middle school black males.”

Now, we are rolling out Deep Equity training to all district employees. This framework, developed by Gary Howard, an author who has written extensively about equity, explores the concepts of equity, inclusion, implicit bias, and cultural competence. Based on our Equity Team research, we are also creating a formal mentoring program for middle school black males that will begin in February 2020.

January 21, 2020 the School District of Lancaster School Board featured “Deep Equity” in the Mid-Year Goals Update from the Superintendent’s Report.

Rau followed up in March 2020 with a letter titled, “Our equity work is meaningful and necessary,” describing her takeaways from the training, “On Saturday, February 29, about 150 of my colleagues at SDoL gathered for the second day of training to improve equity, inclusion and excellence in our schools.” The letter references The Southern Poverty Law Center’s six steps to responding to everyday bigotry from their magazine, Teaching Tolerance.

In 2021, School District of Lancaster’s shared their “Districtwide Equity Steering Committee” at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association 2021 Virtual Equity Summit

The presentation suggests that reducing suspensions for “black male middle school students” benefits all students.

The presentation also shares their “Yes” program which encourages students and “youth” to be equity advocates.

School District of Lancaster Superintendent left her role in July, 2022. But,equity remains a priority in School District of Lancaster as the interim superintendent lists in his top priorities “implementation of the equity policy and report card” and “Improve student learning, with a focus on instructional delivery, curriculum, and MTSS as measured by key equity indicators.”

Learn more about Corwin Press here.

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