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Equity and Inclusion

Four elementary students stand together for a posed photo.

At District 196, the sky’s the limit. That’s because our committed team of educators is dedicated to helping learners explore the outer limits of their vast potential. We firmly believe that our students come first and that all students can learn. Our highly-skilled and compassionate educators and staff are dedicated to creating safe, respectful and inclusive environments that allow students to maximize their learning.

It is our policy to create a culture of respect in each building in District 196. Per policy 503.8AR, "District 196 schools are expected to establish a culture of respect. The district and schools will establish strategies for creating a positive school climate and will use evidence-based social-emotional learning to prevent and reduce discrimination and other improper conduct."

view our comprehensive equity presentation

District 196 Equity Framework

District 196 qualifies as a racially isolated district and currently has one racially identifiable school: Echo Park School of Leadership, Engineering and Technology. In collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education, District 196 has developed an achievement and integration plan to address the needs of these school communities.

The purpose of the Achievement and Integration for Minnesota Program is to do the following in Minnesota public schools:

  • Pursue racial and economic integration;
  • Increase student achievement;
  • Create equitable educational opportunities, and
  • Reduce academic disparities based on students’ diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.

Read Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.861.
Read Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.862.

District plan

The District 196 2020-23 Achievement and Integration Plan was developed by a 55-member council that consisted of parents, teachers, students and other district staff. The plan's budget is approved on an annual basis by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Virgil Jones


Director of Equity & Inclusion
District Office
School: 651-423-7939

Violeta Hernandez Espinosa

Violeta Hernandez Espinosa

Coord of Equity & Inclusion
District Office

Equity Advisory Council

The District 196 School Board approved the inaugural members of the district’s new Equity Advisory Council (EAC) at its Sept. 28 regular meeting.

The EAC is comprised of parents, community members, high school students, district administrators, principals, teachers and other staff. The EAC has authority to make recommendations to the Superintendent’s Cabinet on potential changes needed to ensure equitable practices and systems, and to eliminate the predictability of student achievement based upon race, gender, special education status or eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals. The council’s role is to participate in analysis of data related to student achievement, attendance and discipline; the review of programs and services; community outreach to address the needs of underrepresented families, and to offer multiple perspectives and voice on matters of student equity and inclusion.

Learn more about the EAC >

Cultural Family Advocates

Cultural Family Advocates (CFA) support our achievement and integration plan by working with culturally and ethnically diverse students, to increase and support over all participation and academic achievement. These staff members advise school staff in understanding the culture and expectations of diverse families, and serve as a liaison between the school district and diverse families in facilitating an understanding of school culture and expectations.

Learn more about about our Cultural Family Advocates >