We examine how the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd influenced how a mid-sized urban school district in the northeastern U.S. pursued organizational improvement for educational equity. We frame the global pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd as organizational shocks that disrupted school and district operations that are relevant across borders and international contexts. We employed a chronological multi-layered qualitative design to understand how educational stakeholders made sense of equity work amid organizational shocks and how these shocks either catalyzed, stabilized, or hindered organizational improvement for equity as managerial priorities and organizational processes shifted from previously established goals. Data sources included interviews, document analyses, and school board meeting transcripts. Equity efforts were reactive to organizational shocks. Previously established equity efforts were diluted as core organizational operations changed in response to the shocks. Previous equity gains were quickly undone. However, the organizational shocks also allowed for innovative equity efforts to emerge that both fractured and strengthened staff orientations towards equity work-resulting in racial breakthroughs. The ebbs and flows of equity work appear to be a constant feature of organizational improvement for equity. In times of both stability and crisis, stakeholders must engage in strategic equity planning initiatives that are responsive to community needs and that have district-wide buy-in so that external threats do not undermine previously established gains.