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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 throughout the U.S. (like our dwelling state of Indiana) are making strides to higher perceive and shut the racial achievement gaps on the Okay-12 and faculty degree. This week, we’re happy to current the work of Dr. Monica Medina, who makes use of her coaching in instructional analysis to fulfill underserved faculties and communities the place they’re, study what points they face, and think about how educational analysis could assist remedy them. –Katlyn Hughes, PhD Student, Indiana University School of Medicine & Krista Hoffmann-Longtin, PhD, SciCommPLOS Co-editor

by Loree Wilcox, MA pupil, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Photo courtesy of IUPUI School of Education

Dr. Monica Medina is, amongst many issues, a curator of knowledge. She maneuvers variables in a sly dance of ‘whatdunnit’ to un-puzzle the complicated circumstances of studying and instructing in city faculties, notably in neighborhoods the place poverty is seen as a consider underperforming faculties. With an eye fixed on issues of social justice, fairness, and educational achievement, Dr. Medina has spent the final 30 years learning, instructing and incorporating themes of multicultural competency into instructional programming and curriculum improvement. As a Clinical Associate Professor in IUPUI’s School of Education, and former affiliate director of group partnerships at IUPUI’s Center for Urban and Multicultural Education, she prepares college students to tackle their very own position as lecturers. Her strategy to instructing, service and analysis begins on the intersection of three parts: city college 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 this context that Dr. Medina asks her college students to rethink their position as lecturers. Doing so disarms them of the underlying and unrecognized biases that happen in a pluralistic society and, finally, gives them with a device to acknowledge structural inequalities within the studying surroundings. The course of additionally demonstrates a vital part of fairness pedagogy – an umbrella time period that encompasses the methods lecturers use to facilitate studying in an surroundings comprised of various racial, ethnic and cultural teams.


A cartoon illustrating the kind of fairness Dr. Medina strives to realize by way of her instructing and analysis.

The aim of fairness pedagogy is to extend educational achievement. And there’s no lack of innovation in in the present day’s strategies to extend achievement. Great minds and deep wallets work in tandem to review, define and implement any quantity methods designed to make sure that our faculties are outfitted to supply mandatory sources to college students, and in some instances, their households and the encompassing group.

Achievement variables might be construed from an information evaluation, however with out difficult historically held beliefs about how college students study in relationship to their group, their cultural id, or their degree of entry to supportive sources equivalent to healthcare or mentoring, researchers run the danger of oversimplifying achievement. The hallmark of Dr. Medina’s experience is the confluence of sociocultural components entangled within the studying surroundings. She believes that understanding how poverty impacts achievement in city faculties is greatest found 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 elements that make the entire not solely preserve her busy, but in addition make her a extremely seen chief in the neighborhood – particularly within the Hispanic group in Indianapolis. She is actively engaged in at least a dozen councils, boards, and committees working collectively to pioneer or maintain community-led initiatives, all of which preserve her finger on the heartbeat of social reform and construct the interdisciplinary relationships she finds are invaluable to effecting constructive change.

So, in the case of bridging scholarly analysis and group engagement, it’s not a shock that Dr. Medina’s strategies to assembly the complicated wants of in the present day’s college students and future lecturers ceaselessly prolong 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 college students at George Washington Community High School (GWCHS), a once-failing highschool that she assisted in re-opening as a full-service group college. In 2008, Medina grew to become the Principal Investigator of a five-year, $2.four million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to review and assist the varsity.

The partnership between IUPUI and GWCHS has been nationally acknowledged as a mannequin for college/group engagement. As faculties sought to copy its success, Dr. Medina grew to 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 position is to supply technical help and coaching for growing sturdy coalitions between group faculties and universities all through the Midwest.

Dr. Medina’s ambition to make use of her analysis for the group has completed greater than translate into observe. Her strategy to discovering the intersection of city college transformation, democratic citizenship, and social justice have now been utilized in ways in which have spanned the nation and impacted coverage, making a legacy of innovation not constrained by borders, and changing into a testomony to her private and skilled philosophy on effecting constructive change.

“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, take heed to whom? The reply to that query is the place actual change happens – and that’s how Medina’s analysis transforms into actionable concepts. When the numbers speak, the group’s voice have to be the first agent for addressing options.  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 expertise in media and worldwide affairs, she’s most serious about analysis that explores the intersection of company and intercultural communication.

Loree’s publish is the third in a collection exploring group engagement in scientific analysis, written by graduate college students 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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