Systems Thinking for Education Equity Project (STEEP) 2019

STEEP is a cohort of St. Louis area educators committed to dismantling inequitable systems in their schools and classrooms. In July 2019, STEEP educators used the tools of Community Based System Dynamics to understand drivers of racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions from the teachers perspective. Throughout the year, STEEP members developed systems thinking projects and lesson plans to engage their students in critical thinking on social justice issues, and came together four times to receive peer feedback and support from one another. 

STEEP is a collaboration between Educators for Social Justice, EdHub STL, SkipNV, and the Social System Design Lab to use systems thinking mapping and modeling to understand the complex systems that affect their students and classrooms–and identify leverage points for change. 

Project Lead

Allie Simpson, MSW

Ellis Ballard, MSW, MPH

Start-End Date



St. Louis, MO, USA



Educators for Social Justice


Project Goals

  • To introduce strategies to engage K-12 students in conversations on social justice
  • To prepare educators to adapt and integrate systems thinking activities/tools into their classrooms
  • To gain insight into how educators experience and think about educational equity
  • To create an opportunity for St. Louis educators to build community and collectively problem solve