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The Nexus of Data and Community: How Partnership Can Close Achievement Gaps

The Nexus of Data and Community: How Partnership Can Close Achievement Gaps


States around the U.S. (like our house state of Indiana) are making strides to raised perceive and shut the racial fulfillment gaps on the Ok-12 and faculty stage. This week, we’re happy to give the paintings of Dr. Monica Medina, who makes use of her coaching in instructional analysis to fulfill underserved faculties and communities the place they’re, be told what problems they face, and imagine how instructional analysis might lend a hand resolve them. –Katlyn Hughes, PhD Student, Indiana University School of Medicine & Krista Hoffmann-Longtin, PhD, SciCommPLOS Co-editor

by way of Loree Wilcox, MA scholar, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Photo courtesy of IUPUI School of Education

Dr. Monica Medina is, amongst many stuff, a curator of information. She maneuvers variables in a sly dance of ‘whatdunnit’ to un-puzzle the complicated prerequisites of studying and educating in city faculties, in particular in neighborhoods the place poverty is observed as a consider underperforming faculties. With a watch on issues of social justice, fairness, and instructional fulfillment, Dr. Medina has spent the ultimate 30 years learning, educating and incorporating subject matters of multicultural competency into instructional programming and curriculum building. As a Clinical Associate Professor in IUPUI’s School of Education, and former affiliate director of network partnerships at IUPUI’s Center for Urban and Multicultural Education, she prepares scholars to tackle their very own function as lecturers. Her technique to educating, provider and analysis begins on the intersection of 3 elements: city faculty transformation, democratic citizenship, and social justice.

“In my work, I try to get students to understand that we’re all multicultural beings. There’s this intersectionality of different cultures that creates the lens you have first as a teacher, and then, as a way to understand your students.”

It’s inside of this context that Dr. Medina asks her scholars to reconsider their function as lecturers. Doing so disarms them of the underlying and unrecognized biases that happen in a pluralistic society and, in the end, supplies them with a device to acknowledge structural inequalities within the studying surroundings. The procedure additionally demonstrates an integral part of fairness pedagogy – an umbrella time period that encompasses the methods lecturers use to facilitate studying in an atmosphere comprised of numerous racial, ethnic and cultural teams.


A cool animated film illustrating the sort of fairness Dr. Medina strives to reach via her educating and analysis.

The function of fairness pedagogy is to extend instructional fulfillment. And there’s no lack of innovation in these days’s the best way to building up fulfillment. Great minds and deep wallets paintings in tandem to review, define and enforce any quantity methods designed to make certain that our faculties are supplied to provide important assets to scholars, and in some instances, their households and the encircling network.

Achievement variables will also be construed from an information research, however with out difficult historically held ideals about how scholars be told in dating to their network, their cultural identification, or their stage of get admission to to supportive assets akin to healthcare or mentoring, researchers run the chance of oversimplifying fulfillment. The hallmark of Dr. Medina’s experience is the confluence of sociocultural components entangled within the studying surroundings. She believes that figuring out how poverty impacts fulfillment in city faculties is best possible came upon in a collaborative style.

“I like to work interdisciplinary. And I think we all have to, if we want to make an impact in the community. You have to know how to talk to the people you help … you have to have the vocabulary, and feel confident, and be able to have a conversation with that person and say … ‘I know you’re going to approach it from this side, and I’m going to approach it from this side.  So, who else do we need to bring to the table that can help us get the entire picture?’”

Dr. Medina’s meticulous consideration to the portions that make the entire no longer handiest stay her busy, but additionally make her a extremely visual chief locally – particularly within the Hispanic network in Indianapolis. She is actively engaged in at least a dozen councils, forums, and committees running in combination to pioneer or maintain community-led tasks, all of which stay her finger at the pulse of social reform and construct the interdisciplinary relationships she reveals are precious to effecting certain alternate.

So, in the case of bridging scholarly analysis and network engagement, it’s no longer a marvel that Dr. Medina’s the best way to assembly the complicated wishes of these days’s scholars and long term lecturers ceaselessly lengthen past the partitions of the establishment. Although an Associate Professor, she hasn’t taught a category on campus in 15 years. She prefers as a substitute to show pre-service lecturers and college scholars at George Washington Community High School (GWCHS), a once-failing highschool that she assisted in re-opening as a full-service network faculty. In 2008, Medina become the Principal Investigator of a five-year, $2.four million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to review and strengthen the college.

The partnership between IUPUI and GWCHS has been nationally identified as a style for varsity/network engagement. As faculties sought to copy its good fortune, Dr. Medina become partnered with The Midwest Center for University-Assisted Community Schools. In alliance with the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Dr. Medina’s function is to supply technical help and coaching for growing robust coalitions between network faculties and universities during the Midwest.

Dr. Medina’s ambition to make use of her analysis for the network has achieved greater than translate into apply. Her technique to discovering the intersection of city faculty transformation, democratic citizenship, and social justice have now been carried out in ways in which have spanned the rustic and impacted coverage, making a legacy of innovation no longer constrained by way of borders, and turning into a testomony to her private and skilled philosophy on effecting certain alternate.

“You can’t just show up there and say, ‘Hey, I brought this idea from the University.’ No, you have to listen,” says Medina. “That’s what I do more than anything else. I listen, listen, listen.”

But, concentrate to whom? The resolution to that query is the place actual alternate happens – and that’s how Medina’s analysis transforms into actionable concepts. When the numbers communicate, the network’s voice should be the main agent for addressing answers.  As Medina defined,

“If you’re not in the thick of it, on the front line, then you can never be the voice for the community.”


Loree Wilcox is pursuing her MA in Applied Communication at IUPUI. With prior enjoy in media and global affairs, she’s maximum thinking about analysis that explores the intersection of company and intercultural communique.

Loree’s put up is the 3rd in a chain exploring network engagement in clinical analysis, written by way of graduate scholars within the Communicating Science Minor Program on the IU School of Medicine and IUPUI.


Source: The Nexus of Data and Community: How Partnership Can Close Achievement Gaps

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