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May 3, 2022

District Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Audit Report

The Ankeny Community School District (ACSD) commissioned West Wind Education Policy Inc. (West Wind) to conduct a district audit in order to understand the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion, identify key areas of opportunity and growth, and support ACSD’s continuous improvement. The audit report is organized around the DEI Framework as it was presented on April 28, 2022. The full audit report and companion reference report are available here.

The presentation from the May 2, 2022 Board of Education meeting can be found here.

Areas of Distinction:

  • Students are coming to school and persisting through to graduation; ACDS has impressive graduation and attendance rates.
  • ACSD students notice when individual teachers work to build relationships.
  • ACSD staff expressed commitment to supporting all students.
  • ACSD has an impressive data system to support decision-making.

Areas of Growth:

  • Groups of students are not experiencing high levels of safety, belonging, and inclusion. Both students and teachers report that students use slurs against other students and that adults need help to consistently address this problem.
  • Disproportionality is evident in (1) student performance among English learners, students in poverty, students of color, and special education students (based on ISASP scores; note that when data are disaggregated by BOTH race AND poverty, the patterns of achievement by race are still evident); (2) office referrals both for Disrespect, Defiance, Insubordination, and Non-Compliance (D-DIN) and for Bullying and Harassment; and (3) the identification of students for special education services.
  • Nearly one-third of eligible ESOL students are not receiving services and the performance of ESOL students in reading and mathematics is significantly lower than students who are fluent in English.


  1. Focus Professional Development: Help teachers and administrators better understand students’ many social identities and how they impact their educational experiences. Respond to educators’ requests for support in recognizing and responding to micro-aggressions, slurs, and other bias-based incidents. Help all staff to understand the ACSD DEI Framework and how they can improve their practice in order to foster learning communities described in the Framework.
  2. Increase Support to General Education Teachers to Serve ESOL Students: Provide professional development for all teachers to better understand how to support ESOL students in the general education classroom.
  3. Improve IEP Identification: Ask Heartland Area Education Association to help examine data on the disproportionality in students identified for IEPs and to mitigate the potential for students to be mis-identified as needing IEPs.
  4. Identify and Address Root Causes: Explore root causes underlying disparities and review the research on effective ways to address those root causes.
  5. Invest in Data Literacy: Invest in increasing staff capacity across the district to make the best use of ACSD’s impressive data system, including disaggregating more data by multiple variables and understanding how to use and make meaning of data.
  6. Examine Counseling Needs: Collect disaggregated data about which students are meeting with counselors and for what purposes (academic, mental health, behavior, etc.) and survey students about their access to counselors and the impact of counselor support.
  7. Provide for Safe Student Reporting: Create mechanisms for students to safely report supportive or problematic issues, practices, or instances without fear of retribution.
  8. Enact the DEI Framework: Promote collective responsibility for enacting the DEI Framework by communicating clear support and expectations for equity-advancing work across the district. Build out the district DEI office to ensure experts are able to support not only the specific work of the state-required equity coordinator, but also to support all district departments and buildings as they work to support ACSD students.
  9. Use a Policy Review Tool: Use an equity review process or tool before adopting and after implementing policies, programs, practices, and budgets.
  10. Recruit and Retain a Diverse Workforce: Update and develop explicit programs to support in the recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and retention of diverse and highly effective staff and develop partnerships beyond the district to help.
  11. Improve Parent/Family Communication: Develop multidirectional communication goals and processes to foster family presence in schools.