Use Benchmarking to Implement Your School’s DEI Goals

April Update from the Advancing Equity Cohort

On April 5, 2023, the schools participating in SchoolWorks’ Advancing Equity Cohort, a year-long initiative aimed at driving equity-focused school improvements, connected for their third monthly meet-up.

Led by the AEC facilitators, Dr. Sean Larry Stevens and Lyn Bajaj, the cohort kicked off its April meeting by reflecting on their journey so far – beginning with an initial equity audit at the end of last year, and moving through the first stages of goal setting. Dr. Stevens then presented a mini lesson to help frame the process of benchmarking.

Benchmarking is the act of creating measurable standards for the quality and effectiveness of strategies, programs, services, policies, and processes within an organization. Engaging in benchmarking as part of the DEI planning process helps school leadership teams define and determine what success looks like, while also identifying gaps between the school’s envisioned state and current state. Ultimately, the practice of benchmarking helps to create a tactical roadmap for improvement.

Key steps of benchmarking include:

1. Document benchmarking objectives.


2. Define the metrics that will measure effectiveness.


3. Develop a data collection plan.



In last month’s meet-up, the AEC participants completed the initial step of identifying their DEI-aligned goals. To continue this work, the cohort is now defining benchmarks that will frame those goals. To get the process underway, Dr. Stevens shared a list of tactical information sources that could serve as key data resources or progress measurement tools.

Those information sources included:

  • Internal Surveys
  • National Surveys (such as The New Teacher Project’s Insight Survey)
  • School/District Designed Rubrics
  • Demographic Data
  • Employer Satisfaction Data
  • Budget Resource Allocation
  • Hiring/Retention/Promotion Data
  • DEI Committee Attendance + Participation Data
  • Curriculum Audits/Reviews
  • Lesson Plan Templates

For the May meetup, the cohort participants will use the provided resources to work with their school teams to finish the process of establishing 3 to 4 benchmarks with metrics aligned to their individual school’s goals.

Stay tuned for next month’s updates on the AEC’s progress. For any questions on implementing DEI-focused school improvements, feel free to start a conversation with us through the public form below or contact us directly through our email inquiry form.

Join the Equity Journey!
If you are a school leader, please complete our free Equity Assessment Survey.  Based on SchoolWorks’ Equity Audit Protocol, the survey is designed to help you think through the effectiveness of your current systems, policies, and processes in providing an equitable learning environment for all students.  Upon completing the survey, you’ll receive insights into how other school leaders, like you, identified their own strengths and challenges.  This feedback will help you understand your context within the greater education community, so that you can prepare for next steps.


Let’s plan together!


For information on SchoolWorks equity-focused supports, please reach out to us at

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