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SFS’s Dr. Dianna Whitlock has a conversation with Dr. Nick Wahl, the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiatives Team for Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS), about how to create equal learning opportunities for all students. His job? Helping high schools identify disadvantaged students who were overlooked for rigorous courses early on, but are more than capable of doing the work. 

What EOS found in their work with Stanford is that 750,000 students of color and students from low income households that exist across the nation are missing from these rigorous programs. Dr. Wahl’s job goes beyond identifying a handful of students; his hope is that through his work, and the work of many others like his, that all disadvantaged students can be identified and given opportunities equal to their peers.

Interestingly enough, of 50,000 teachers interviewed across the country, the greatest predictors of success were student interest and student motivation. The lowest predictors? Students’ GPAs and test scores, which are gatekeepers—keeping capable students out of more challenging courses. In working with these high schools, Dr. Wahl and his team identify barriers to these programs and aim to knock them down to prevent further gatekeeping from deserving and motivated students, regardless of their background. Currently, EOS is working in 30 states with 600 high school partners, working diligently to find these barriers and the students who need a hand getting past them. Looking ahead, EOS would like to expand their reach to all 50 states so they can identify every capable student who deserves to receive equal opportunities in their learning career.

For the full conversation, be sure to watch the video below—then explore for more information!

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