Hanover Research worked with this district to build a framework to close student equity gaps

Building District Capacity for Equity Progress

To address how to close student equity gaps, Mountain View Whisman partnered with Hanover to build a strategic framework for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the district.

In the heart of California’s bustling Silicon Valley, Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD) serves nearly 5,000 pre-K–8 families from diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

With a focus on creating an inclusive and welcoming culture, the district began taking steps to build an infrastructure to address equity at a systemic level.

In 2020, Superintendent Ayindé Rudolph hired the district’s first Director of Equity, Megan Pohlman, and established an equity advisory committee to help collaborate and sustain the work. Pohlman was charged with not only leading the large 30-member committee, but also establishing data-driven metrics and reporting mechanisms to chart the district’s progress toward equitable student outcomes.

“Having a partner like Hanover is really important. If I had to do all the research by myself, the quality would have suffered, and it would actually be antithetical to the work: Equity work is most successful when you bring in as many different viewpoints as possible. It’s helpful to have a strong research partner who can substantiate the work with data and best practices.” 

Megan Pohlman, Director of Equity

The Challenge: Build a Collaborative, Data-Driven Approach to Equitable Student Learning

To establish a baseline of the district’s current state, Hanover helped facilitate a comprehensive look at the district’s historical data to identify equity gaps. This work revealed that over decades, district operations had resulted in stark equity gaps for some subgroups of students.

Armed with this information, Pohlman faced several daunting challenges, from building trust with stakeholders, to skillfully using the data to build support for change. Moreover, she needed to help staff collaborate across departments to achieve new and better results.


The percentage of MVWD students identified as non-white


The percentage of students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program


The number of languages spoken by students and families

The Solution: Establish a Meaningful Equity Framework

To inform the district’s strategy, the equity advisory committee was composed of parents, staff, students, and a board trustee with varying levels of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) expertise. Hanover staff worked closely with Pohlman to design a sequence of trainings and deliverables to help the committee set a solid foundation for advancing equity work for years to come.

Equity Workshops

Hanover’s team co-facilitated a series of workshops to help the committee build trust, explore what equity means, and develop a shared understanding of equity in an educational setting. Before each session, Hanover consulted with Pohlman to tailor the work around the group’s evolving needs. After each workshop, Pohlman facilitated a “homework” assignment with the group to extend their learning and set the stage for the next phase of work.  

“In a lot of districts, there’s a notion that committees don’t actually get work done. What we were able to do with Hanover in the first five months, however, was set a foundation for the members to meaningfully contribute and engage in work projects. We were able to workshop an equity vision and mission statement. It turned out beautifully and everyone is still really proud of it.”

— Megan Pohlman, Director of Equity 

Equity Vision and Measurement Practices

The workshops enabled the equity committee to establish vision and mission statements to guide their work. With consensus around their vision, the committee was ready to dive into data and explore how to measure equity. Hanover shared best practices on data analysis, strategic goals, and measuring outcomes, along with a benchmarking analysis for the committee to learn what other metrics and actions could inform their efforts. From there, the committee developed four thematic equity pillars to frame the work ahead:

  • Academic readiness 
  • Access 
  • Representation 
  • Wellness

Equity Data Insights

The district is able to track and share DEI metrics over time using this infographic visual toolTo showcase the district’s equity data, Hanover staff worked with Pohlman to develop a shareable infographic that could help explain complex data patterns about equity in the district. The three-page document can be refreshed each year to illustrate the district’s longitudinal progress, pinpoint gaps, and help people begin to think about how to make focused improvements.

The district uses a three-page visual infographic to share its progress on equity measures.

Design effective professional learning plans that help teachers and staff respond to students’ diverse learning needs.

Read our District Leaders’ Guide for Developing a Professional Learning Plan

“We are very intentional about how transformation and change happen within our district and Hanover is responsive to our needs. When we are in the initial creative stages of a new initiative, we feel supported by Hanover’s direct support during our committee meetings. When it’s time to make a big decision, Hanover offers best practices but gives us the flexibility and space to critique our choices internally.” 

—Megan Pohlman, Director of Equity 

The Outcome: Sustainable Progress Toward Educational Equity

MVWSD’s equity-focused initiatives in the last two years have successfully established a foundation that will advance the district’s equity progress for years to come. By partnering with Hanover, the district was able to:


  • Educate and engage a large, diverse group of stakeholders in collaborative equity work


  • Produce multiple equity project deliverables to inform future work 


  • Help staff understand what equity work looks like and what data to monitor


  • Identify key performance indicators to track progress over time 


MVWSD is now primed to continue its equity journey by updating its equity data infographic and developing a reporting scorecard this year. These tools will enable the district to continue monitoring its progress in achieving equitable student outcomes and to share that progress with the broader community.

In partnership with Hanover, MVWSD continues to scale its equity projects to build a strategic, sustained effort to overcome institutional barriers, close achievement gaps, and invest in the success of all students.

“Hanover has allowed us to be the builder of bridges from research to practice. The meta-analyses they provide on important topics in the K-12 sphere are the foundation for the decisions we make as educational leaders.” 

Dr. Ayindé Rudolph, Superintendent 

Hanover Research worked with Mountain View Whisman School District to establish a strategic framework to close student equity gaps

Mountain View, CA


Engage a large committee in a process to build districtwide equity metrics and reporting mechanisms

Use your district’s data to address inequitable student learning outcomes with the help of our Academic Equity Workbook

Hanover built a foundation for equitable practices at Mountain View Whisman School District through:




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Learn how other districts are assessing their DEI efforts with our 2022 report on the Current State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Public Schools

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