Building Cultural Competence

  • Building Cultural Competence Equity in education is a transformational journey requiring change and growth towards understanding diversity, identity, and privilege within the socio-political culture where we exist and enact the curriculum. To achieve this goal, we need to attain cultural competency, which, as defined by vernita Mayfield, is the ability to use critical-thinking skills to interpret how cultural values and beliefs influence conscious and unconscious behavior; the understanding of how inequity can be and has been perpetuated through socialized behaviors; and the knowledge and determined disposition to disrupt inequitably, practices to achieve greater personal and professional success for yourself and others (Clark, Zygmunt & Howard, 2016; Gay, 2010; Howard, 2010).

    At Brighton, professional learning follows an iterative model that maps action towards change in supporting student achievement goals. The model encompasses five stages. The stages are a progression that charts teachers' growth in outcome levels (change) monitored at each step to assess progress towards the primary goal. In building cultural competence, in 2017, we developed a professional growth program within the professional learning continuum to train all staff members within a cultural competence framework (awareness, evaluate & adapt professional practices, modify practices that inhibit opportunities for marginalized populations, align & sustain).

    The following are some examples of professional learning opportunities in which the staff members have engaged since 2017.

    AWARENESS Increase your awareness of privilege and bias; places instruction within the broader sociopolitical context. Some examples of our professional learning opportunities include:

    • Activating the AntiBias/AntiRacist Lens - NYU Metro Center for Equity and the Transformation on Schools.  All staff Superintendent's Conference Day. October 2020
    • A Day of Professional Learning in Support of Multilingual Learners 
    • Waking up White book study
    • How to be an Antiracist book study (Ibram X. Kendi)
    • Addressing Implicit Biases in Classroom Practices 
    • BHS & TCMS Artisan Works Diversity Exploration
    • Diversity/Equity DPD: Dr. Jevon HunterCulturally Relevant Pedagogy as Authentic Learning and Teaching (Whole staff District PD Day. Summer 2019)
      • Eight breakout sessions on related topics
    • Facilitating Difficult Conversations about difficult topics in the classroom
    • Hitting for Contact: Consistent Success In Race Conversations
    • ISSI 2019: Cultural Sustainability in the 21st Century 
    • Social Justice 101 (Teaching Tolerance Workshop)
    • TAs: Facilitating Difficult Conversations about difficult topics in the classroom
    • Understanding and Supporting Transgender and Gender Diverse Students in Schools
    • We Need Diverse Books: Diversifying Your Bookshelves for Young Readers
    • Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain (Hammond, 2015) - This book has become the basis for much of the D/E work across the district including our curriculum development institutes and instructional PD
    • Spring 2021: Faculty meetings - Focus on ABAR Principles

    COMMUNITY & ENVIRONMENT -Creating an environment that feels socially and intellectually safe for dependent learners to stretch themselves and take risks.

    • Advancing Learning Spaces: Environments that Support Student Thinking
    • Restorative Practices: Community builidng circles (Whole staff Superintendent's Conference Day)
    • Diversity and Cultural Competence in the Workplace - Whole staff PD offered during each building's faculty meetings during the Winter/Spring 2021
      • Everfi Self-Paced Courseware
    • The Caring and Curious Classroom

    INFORMATION PROCESSING -Knowing how to strengthen and expand students' intellective capacity to engage in deeper, more complex learning

    • Culturally Responsive Education
    • Diversity/Equity DPD: Creating Cultures of Thinking
    • Jevon Hunter's Follow-up: CSG Effective Application of Culturally Relevant/ Sustaining Pedagogies
    • Joellen Maple's Follow-up: CSG - Fostering Critical Literacy Practices in the K-5 Classroom  
    • Inspiring, Engaging, and Empowering Our Youth: Culturally Relevant Instruction through Critical Inquiry Projects
    • Understanding by Design
    • Creating Cultures of Thinking (Teacher Induction program)
    • Project-Based Learning (PBL) 101
    • Rigorous Instruction Through Making Thinking Visible, Habits of Mind and Technology
    • The "Learning for ALL" Classroom
    • Nurturing Habits of Mind in Early Childhood Book Study

    LEARNING PARTNERSHIPS -Building trust with students across differences so that the teacher can create social-emotional partnerships for deeper learning

    • Facilitating a "Community Circle Check-In"
    • Facilitating Community Building Circles in a Classroom Setting (Whole District Superintendent's Conference Day)
    • Social Emotional Learning sessions (SEL)
    • Unpacking Social Emotional Learning: Addressing Student Need