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Abstract

The authors provide an overview of a culture-equity audit conducted in a rural Appalachian school. The purpose was to collect information that would assist the school to optimize student academic performance. School culture is critical to establishing successful school learning environments. It provides one of the most significant foundations for successful student achievement (Cleveland, Powell, Saddler, &Tyler, 2008). Some studies suggest that educational leaders could play significant roles in culture building (Deal, 1990, 1994; Levine, 1989; Parish & Aquila, 1996; Pritchard et al., 2005). A culture audit provides an opportunity to learn about the culture of a school or district. Equity audits use quantitative indicators to examine teacher quality and programmatic inequities in schools systematically (Skrla, Scheurich, Garcia, & Nolly, 2006). Culture audits provide critical data to reveal educational inequities among diverse school groups. Unfortunately, equity audits alone may not sufficiently capture the idiosyncrasies of exclusive school cultures that contribute to more subtle discrimination and poor student achievement. A culture-equity audit may be conducted for this reason. Researchers from a regional American university in the mid-west conducted an equity-culture audit for a rural Appalachian school with the aim of supporting student achievement. This article provides an overview of the audit and recommendations for reform.

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