Talent and potential exist equally

for people of all backgrounds.

So should college and career opportunities.

Our collaboration with ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning is focused on helping people from underserved populations achieve education and career success.

Through thought leadership, partnership and engagement, and research and advocacy efforts, the Center supports initiatives, campaigns, and programs that help young people succeed in education and the workplace. 

ARTICLES

PODCASTS

ACT presents “MyOptions,” A BLENDED APPROACH TO COLLEGE COUNSELING FOR 1st GEN STUDENTS. Thank you, ACT Center for Equity in Learning. Our guest is Bryan Contreras, former 1st-gen student from Houston, now V.P. at MyOptions for K12 Partnerships.


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ACT’s interim CEO/COO Janet Godwin joined Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio to discuss how ACT, a company you may know only for testing, is working daily on an ongoing mission toward educational equity for all students.


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Meet Dr. Nancy Lewin, Program Director of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, Dr. Dana Murano, Research Scientist at The ACT Center for Social, Emotional and Academic Research, and Marci Price, Program Director of ACT Learning Division-SEL.


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NEWS

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning Announces New Leadership and Summer Agenda

Vice President Tina Gridiron will lead the Center’s strategic vision for education equity

Iowa City – ACT announced today that Tina Gridiron will lead as Vice President of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. Gridiron, who joined the Center in 2019, brings extensive experience in philanthropic, non-profit and education leadership through her 14 years at Lumina Foundation, as Board member and Vice Chair of the Board of Grantmakers for Education, and as a student affairs professional with more than 10 years focused on diversity, inclusion and student success. Her insights and experience will focus and enhance the work of the Center with its external partners, and shape ACT’s broader efforts to close gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement in education and the workforce. Gridiron has been a long-standing champion of student voice, and consistently ensures the inclusion of diverse perspectives in designing change initiatives. She is a collaborative leader with a commitment to excellence, integrity, and results. Truly, the right fit for elevating ACT’s mission and supporting learners’ success in this season of uncertainty.

Gridiron is also pleased to step in and launch the Center’s summer equity agenda. In particular, this summer ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning will bring together leading minds in critical areas such as housing and food insecurity, the digital divide, social emotional learning, and education technology. “These issues impact students and families at all ages, so we are intentionally bringing together experts from the K-12, postsecondary and policy advocacy areas for a student focused discussion about evidence-based practices that we can use to close gaps in the system and ensure that all students succeed” said Gridiron.

The Center’s new “Equity in Action” webinar series will begin on July 15 with a session focused on the Digital Divide and its deep impact on education equity in the face of COVID-19. The series will continue with a panel of experts and education leaders examining housing and food insecurity and showcasing the strategies needed for students in both K-12 and higher education. Webinar speakers include Richard Culatta, CEO of International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE); Dr. Arsenio Romero, Superintendent of Deming Public Schools and a Regent for New Mexico State University; Sara Goldrick-Rab, the Founder of the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice; Dr. David Miyashiro, the Superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District; and Richard Carranza, Chancellor of New York City Schools. Future webinars will investigate the social and emotional learning efforts that schools will need as they plan to reopen in the fall, and what new realities and obstacles the class of 2021 will face in midst of their college-going process and planning.

The Center’s expanded focus on public engagement and thought leadership has led to a new collaboration with the American Consortium on Equity in Education to develop podcasts, stories, and other substantive content focused on the urgent need to address racial equity and other issues, and elevate the visibility of best practices in education equity. The podcast series kicks off on Education Talk Radio on July 13 with an in-depth conversation with ACT CEO Janet Godwin. Future episodes will examine topics including insights from the first decade of ACT’s scholarship endowments at the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College, as well as the positive impact of the American College Application Campaign (ACAC) on college-going aspirations and enrollment for first-in-the-family college students and students from families with low incomes.

“ACT was founded with an eye toward achieving education equity, and we reignited that mission when we launched the Center four years ago,” Janet Godwin, interim CEO said. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we engage in outcomes focused conversations and work toward addressing systemic inequity and closing achievement gaps for all learners. Tina’s leadership of and vision for ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning are critical toward that end.”

About ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement for underserved populations and working learners. Through purposeful investments, employee engagement, and thoughtful advocacy efforts, the Center supports innovative partnerships, actionable research, initiatives, campaigns, and programs to further ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success. http://equityinlearning.act.org


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ACT and American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson Join Forces to Help Teachers, Students Navigate Online Learning During COVID-19 Crisis

IOWA CITY, Iowa—When schools across the country suddenly closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s teachers were left to determine—often with uncertain resources and supports—how to effectively teach students out of the classroom. ACT, Inc. and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced today that they have joined forces to help teachers navigate the rapidly changing world of distance learning.

Through the new relationship, ACT and the 1.7 million-member AFT will combine their strengths to bring effective online educational resources to America’s teachers and students.

ACT will provide teaching and learning lessons, resources and content to the AFT’s Share My Lesson platform. This AFT platform is the country’s premier digital platform where teachers can collaborate and share lesson plans, classroom strategies and other learning resources for free. The platform, developed by AFT, serves as a trusted source for teachers as they seek and develop online lesson plans for their students.

“ACT’s and AFT’s missions are closely aligned, with both organizations committed to helping students achieve success,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda. “We each bring unique strengths to this partnership, and by working together, we know we can better help educators teach and students learn during this difficult time and beyond.”

“COVID-19 upended everything in America, with the only meaningful way the virus has been confronted being stay-at-home orders,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “As a result, educators across the country had to adapt within days to remote teaching. We are always looking to provide educators with the tools and resources they need to make student experience as engaging as possible. We are glad to be working with ACT, and while these platforms never substitute for in-person learning, they offer teachers yet another option for meeting their students’ needs and creating a space for academic, social and emotional learning.”

Initially, teachers can expect webinars and blog posts through shared ACT and AFT resources designed to help improve educational outcomes. The partnership will also feature content designed to help AFT members navigate the new online teaching and learning environment brought forth by the global pandemic.

ACT, which has launched a webinar series to support students and teachers, continues the series with an ACT-AFT jointly hosted webinar. “How Parents Can Help Stem a COVID-19 Learning Slide” will begin on Thursday, May 7 at 1 pm Eastern. Mawi Asgedom, an expert on social and emotional learning (SEL) and founder of Mawi Learning™, now a part of ACT’s learning unit, will demonstrate a number of powerful tools to help teachers, school counselors, and parents and students grow continuously. Parents will learn how to help students use those tools in both academic and personal areas and adopt a growth mindset for future success.

Individuals may register for the webinar online.

ACT SEL Curriculum and Assessment combines curriculum from Mawi Learning and assessments from ACT Tessera®. ACT SEL Curriculum and Assessment also provide AFT member teachers with easy-to-use, evidence-based SEL tools and lessons free of charge through the Share My Lesson platform.

ACT will also support AFT member teachers by providing access to powerful and standards-aligned K-12 content. This content can be accessed on the ACT website through icurio as well as ACT Academy. icurio will be available for free until June 30, 2020, and provides access to more than 360,000 curated, vetted and maintained standards-aligned resources. ACT Academy, always available without charge, provides test practice resources. These test resources are designed to help learners and teachers address the reporting categories from the ACT and PreACT tests with free videos, games, interactives, practice questions and full-length practice tests. Additional information and registration are available online at act.org/covid19.

ACT will also lend support to AFT members through some of its other programs, including:

  • ACT’s myOptions program, the nation’s largest free college planning program.
  • The American College Application Campaign (ACAC), which annually helps nearly 700,000 high school seniors, particularly those from underserved backgrounds, navigate the college application and admissions process.
  • ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, which focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement for underserved populations and working learners.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies, and employers in the U.S. and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research, and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more, visit http://www.act.org/.

About AFT
The American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, was founded in 1916 and today represents 1.7 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide.


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RESEARCH

Students do better in school when they are emotionally and mentally prepared for learning. 

The ACT Center for Equity in Learning asked students who had recently taken the ACT to describe the mental health supports available to them at school.

LEARN ABOUT THE SURVEY

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and Univision have partnered to empower Hispanic students and their families in their efforts to help students achieve academic and career success. Both organizations aim to guide Hispanic students through the college application process and to support them in their future success. Univision and the Center, therefore, set out to explore the following questions with Hispanic students.

SEE WHAT THEY LEARNED

In nearly half the states in the U.S., most rural students are from low-income families. These learners tend to lack access to rigorous coursework, earn lower scores on standardized high school assessments, and attend college at lower rates than their non-rural counterparts.

This brief takes a closer look at rural students’ access to technology, coursework and extracurricular activities.

READ IT HERE


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