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Hanover worked with PGCPS to build a K12 strategic planning framework with an equity focus

Developing an Equity-Focused District Strategic Plan

A Maryland public school district partnered with Hanover to build a comprehensive, data-driven strategic planning process focused on equity and cultural responsiveness. 

With a mission to provide a transformative educational experience anchored by excellence in equity, Prince Georges County Public Schools (PGCPS) is the second largest school system in Maryland, proudly serving a diverse student population from urban, suburban, and rural communities. 

In 2020–21, the district’s Board of Education and the leadership team initiated an inclusive process to build a five-year strategic plan that reflected as many voices as possible, guided by a commitment to ensure all schools support students equitably. 

As they gathered community feedback, PGCPS collaborated with Hanover Research to analyze the data, identify goals and indicators, and build reporting mechanisms.

The Challenge: Build an Equitable Strategic Plan Framework  

Partnering with Hanover Research provided PGCPS with the additional support the district needed to carry out the planning and implementation phases. 

Hanover’s team conducted an equity analysis of five-year trend data of student behavioral and academic outcomes. The analysis revealed disparities across racial/ethnicity, economic, gender, English learners, and special needs student service groups. Based on this baseline data along with benchmark data from other districts, PGCPS, in partnership with Hanover, synthesized four aspirational goals to describe the desired outcomes of transformation: 

  • Attain educational excellence
  • Achieve excellence in equity
  • Realize workforce and operational excellence
  • Increase awareness of mental health and wellness linkages to learning



The percentage of PGCPS students who qualify for free and reduced meals


The percentage of students who are English language learners


Total student enrollment

The Solution: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Plan for Transformation

Equity Dashboard

Hanover created an equity dashboard, which helped employees access district data and identify new intersectional insights (for example, investigating chronic absenteeism rates among female English language learners).  

Community Input

To round out the quantitative data, Hanover also worked with the district to understand lived experiences in the community through qualitative research, including a diagnostic survey, a climate and culture survey, focus groups, and districtwide discussions. District administrators used an “illuminate, refute, confirm” feedback process to capture groups’ input and then reflect it back to them in videos so they could see how their comments were represented. They also held 50 public video meetings to exchange ideas and prioritize needs.  

Metrics and Monitoring

The planning process yielded over 100 performance indicators to achieve the desired outcome goals. Working with Hanover, PGCPS staff created a multi-tiered set of critical success indicators (CSIs) and metrics that are tied to the plan’s goals and imperatives. Then reporting and monitoring tools were developed to track the progress on each CSI and help each office build its own progress-reporting capacity.

“The beauty of the equity dashboard is that every employee can see the under- and over- representation across different student groups. While we could have collected some of this data on our own, the analysis would have suffered, and we wouldn’t have had that external push to investigate critical feedback. Hanover allowed us to have more critical conversations.” — David Rease, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Belonging

Hear other districts share their experiences and tips in our webinar, Turning Strategy into Action: Effective Approaches to Strategic Planning.

The Outcome: A Clear Path to Strategic Action and Accountability

The quantitative and qualitative data analysis and progress monitoring plans culminated into a comprehensive strategic framework that includes a vision, mission, four goals, and five imperatives focused on equity and cultural responsiveness. To reach its targets by 2026, the district now has in place: 

  • An equity-focused strategic plan that was vetted and validated by thousands of parents, students, staff, and community members
  • A set of clear outcome goals that align with measurable success indicators
  • A plan for focused implementation
  • A monitoring system to evaluate changes and report on progress over time
  • An equity dashboard outlining progress in key metrics across student groups
  • Continued access to benchmarking and best practice data to stay abreast of national trends 

“Hanover’s team shared benchmark data that helped fill in blanks about national trends and bright spots in our performance. They also completed our first progress report so we could learn how to sustain the process on our own. I have not seen other partners walk through resources and provide this level of support. Hanover is aligned with helping us do this work on our own in the future.” 

— Rashida Tyler, Supervisor, Strategic Planning and Change Management

Looking to the future, the district is also working with Hanover to create a public-facing version of the equity dashboard to help the community follow the district’s progress on its ambitious goals for transformative change.

“Our monitoring tool has allowed us to do progress reports twice a year, plus an annual report at the culmination of the school year. After each report, we meet with the leadership team to review our success indicators and determine if we need to make any modifications. This has allowed us to assess if we are on the right track and measuring the right things, ensuring the plan remains relevant.” 

— Vanessa Weatherington, Director of Strategic Planning & Resource Management 

Prince George's County Public Schools partnered with Hanover Research to develop an equity-focused strategic plan framework

Upper Marlboro, MD


Synthesize districtwide data to develop a strategic plan framework and monitoring structure

Bring your district’s strategic plan to life with best practices. Get our Transforming Strategic Plans into Results: A K-12 Action Planning Toolkit.

Hanover helped Prince George's County Public Schools with:




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