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2023 State of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Belonging is a fundamental human need that shapes our actions, relationships, and overall wellbeing. In the context of education, fostering a sense of belonging among students, teachers, and parents is not only a desirable goal, but a critical factor in supporting equity, positive student outcomes, community engagement, and a healthy school climate. Belonging is also at the core of a systematic approach to conducting an equity audit, something that has become a central focus of school districts across the country in recent years.


Within the broader context of an equity audit, Hanover Research developed the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Diagnostic survey. This tool aids district leaders in assessing stakeholder perceptions of various issues, such as school belonging, social environment, academic environment, staff perceptions, engagement and outreach, and district priorities. For districts where the DEIB survey may not be suitable or feasible, Hanover Research also developed a K-12 Climate Survey that touches on many of the same topic areas. The data compiled and presented in this report encapsulate the perspectives gleaned from over 250,000 DEIB Diagnostic and K-12 Climate Survey responses from students, parents, and staff at member districts.


Hanover Research has also created a Student Outcomes Data Analysis, a data visualization tool designed to assist districts in pinpointing and interpreting proportionalities and disproportionalities across various student data points. Over the past few years, Hanover has gathered and analyzed data spanning (2016-17 to 2021-22) from fifty-three member districts nationwide, encompassing more than one million students. This dataset reflects students attending schools in districts with diverse sizes, regions, urbanicity levels, and demographic compositions. For each district-level analysis, Hanover developed an interactive dashboard that enables district users to filter by specific subsets across predetermined segments of interest.


This report leverages data from analyses conducted for district members across all regions of the country, compiling aggregated datasets from the DEIB Diagnostic Survey, the K-12 Climate Survey, and the Student Outcomes Data Analysis. Understanding the inherent connection between educational diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is essential to mitigating challenges highlighted in the data, which are related to the emerging themes of culturally responsive-sustaining teaching, strong teacher-student relationships, meaningful family engagement, and restorative practices. To achieve significant, systemic change, these priorities must be addressed simultaneously rather than discretely. The findings and insights in this report can be utilized by district leaders to assist in preparing for an equity audit, guiding strategic planning, choosing key performance indicators, and conducting ongoing improvement initiatives.

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