Skip Main Links
map rendering of Sacramento City Unified School District equity master plan
Sacramento City Unified School District Equity-Based Facilities Master Plan

Disrupting the Traditional Decision-Making Process


Sacramento City Unified School District

Project Location

Sacramento City, CA

Number of Students


Facilities Impacted


Sacramento City Unified School District is one of the largest school districts in California with vast socioeconomic differences across its 81 campuses. Pioneering a new approach through an equity lens, we co-created a comprehensive master plan with the school community. To support SCUSD’s core value, “…to confront and interrupt inequities that exist to level the playing field and provide opportunities for everyone to learn, grow, and reach their greatness”, an equity index was developed by centering the voices of those adversely affected by historical inequities. Through co-creative workshops and dialogues, parents, vested stakeholders, and community champions, our focus was on correcting institutional practices producing unequal educational outcomes for students of color, students with disabilities, English language learners, foster youth, and homeless youth.

The resulting equitable framework for facilities investments is a newly established principle for all SCUSD facilities that prioritizes the funding of capital projects, impacting more than 43,000 students. Geographic Information System data was used to identify underserved student groups and neighborhoods experiencing high segregation, poverty, and low access to resources. We were able to prioritize nine schools meeting these criteria for transformative projects that would not have been identified in a traditional educational facilities plan.


We disrupted the traditional decision-making process by creating a data-informed framework to allocate funding towards schools that serve students and communities who have experienced historic divestment. While there were many other recommendations we provided beyond those nine facilities we identified, and those other facilities will also receive needed investments, this method allowed for the district to prioritize those students and communities who were most in need. This framework ensures transparency and institutional accountability for equitable student outcomes.


Educational specifications developed simultaneously with the master plan assess the educational effectiveness of the environments. The projects designated for transformational projects, those that were prioritized and otherwise, brought their educational environments in accordance with the attributed ed specs. These ed specs activate design research to empower learners and teachers through a framework of flexibility, individualization, nature/naturalness, and stimulation. Six categories illustrate the district’s aspirations: learning environments, safety and security, inquiry and experiential learning, individualized support, fitness and athletics, and dining experience and nutrition.

map rendering of Sacramento City Unified School District equity master plan


2022 Award of Excellence

CASH/AIA CA Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Awards

Contact Us

Contact Us

  • Ready for the latest updates, delivered right to your inbox? By checking Subscribe, you agree to receive DLR Group’s weekly newsletter.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.