A Family’s Journey to Middle School in New York City

An Equity Perspective

A Family’s Journey to Middle School in New York City

The Lab for Equity and Engagement in School Enrollment (E3 Lab), a research-practice partnership between the New York City Department of Education’s (NYC DOE’s) Office of Student Enrollment policy team and MDRC’s Center for Applied Behavioral Science, worked on identifying “pain points,” especially digital pain points, that families of rising middle-schoolers faced in applying for middle school during the pandemic.

In the figure below, the “Equity Concerns” column illustrates the kinds of questions agencies can consider to take an equity-driven approach to updating their processes, based on barriers we learned about from surveys, interviews with staff, and other school district interactions with families. The “Possible Solutions” column shows the CABS at MDRC team’s thinking about potential ways that NYC DOE and other agencies can consider addressing the equity concerns. NYC DOE has already implemented some of these solutions. This process and decision map, one of a series the partnership created, illustrates the Lab’s systematic approach to understanding which families may face barriers and to guiding changes that address the pain points, bolstering its cycles of learning and improvement.

If you want to learn more about how this approach could be adapted to reflect your process, get in touch with us at [email protected].

Click the image below to view a PDF of the equity map.

E3 Equity Map