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Opening Doors

Opening Doors
An Implementation Template for Cultural Proficiency

Foreword by David Verdugo

December 2015 | 152 pages | Corwin

See how one school district made Cultural Proficiency real—and how you can too!

In spite of Brown vs. Board of Education, true integration and corresponding equality of educational opportunity is still far from reality in American schools.  

Opening Doors tells the story of Ventura Unified School District's successful implementation of cultural proficiency, which opened long-closed doors for marginalized students and returned gains on every key success metric. Most importantly, it will empower you to do the same for your school or district. Resources include:

  • A method for evaluating the impact of educational decisions on students' access to learning
  • A clear three-year implementation plan for making your school culturally proficient
  • A content-rich companion website that includes templates and forms for implementing the book’s suggestions

It is long past time to make cultural proficiency real by ensuring universally equal access to educational resources for all students. This book removes the remaining barriers to the achievement of this ideal. 

“This powerfully insightful and thought provoking book, takes us on a journey to culturally proficient actions.”
Rosemary Papa, Professor
Northern Arizona University

“The book is full of compassion, conviction and hope—pure heart, pure corazón—in the quest to tackle inequality and the opportunity gap head on.”
Gilberto Q. Conchas, Professor of Educational Policy and Social Context
University of California, Irvine

Publisher's Acknowledgments
About the Authors
Chapter 1 – What Frames Us, Defines Us
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

Chapter 2 - Culturally Proficient Leadership Fosters Transformative Change
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

Chapter 3 – Change Begins with Core Value and Belief Statements
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

Activity 3.1 – Can You Believe?

Activity 3.2 – Walking Forward Part I

Chapter 4 – Yes, We Actually Live Our Values
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

Activity 4.1 – Walking Forward Part II

Activity 4.2 – I Am Activity

Chapter 5 – Continuous Learning Involves Deconstructing our Learning
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

Activity 5.1 - The Power of Us

Activity 5.2 – Opening Doors for Students – Do Our Actions Reflect Our Values? Part 1

Activity 5.3 – Opening Doors for Students – To What Extent are We Escorting Students Through the Doors? Part 2

Activity 5.4 – Data that Demonstrates Areas of Need

Activity 5.5 – Book Club

Resource A – Book Study Guide

Resource B - Cultural Proficiency Books’ Essential Questions

Resource C – 3-Year Implementation Journey

Resource D – A Cultural Proficiency Implementation Model


This powerfully insightful and thought provoking book, takes us on a journey to culturally proficient actions.

Rosemary Papa, Professor
Northern Arizona University

The authors challenge districts to examine practices that create inequity.

Lorie Henderson, Superintendent of Educational Services and Programming
School District of Mystery Lake

Endeavors toward culturally proficient values are critical in a time where we struggle to answer ‘Why can’t we close the educational gap?

Miriam Ezzani, Clinical Associate Professor in Educational Leadership
Department of Teacher Education and Administration, University of North Texas

This book provides inspiration for those institutions that are examining and asking the difficult question of, “Where do we even begin?”

Lori Piowlski, Assistant Professor
Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN

“The authors’ have provided the most comprehensive blueprint for starting or revamping an institution’s program for cultural proficiency by allowing one to start with self-understanding before addressing others. Emphasizing that changes happen when leaders use cultural proficiency to do their work!”

Thomas Christie, Multicultural/Community Administrator
Lincoln Public Schools

If your school or district is ready to move from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk” this text will assist you in your journey.

Melissa Nixon, Director of Title I
Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, NC

School Leaders will be inspired and understand the urgency of putting a plan into action.

Cesar Morales, Superintendent
Oxnard School District, Oxnard, CA

It is exuberating to see how Ventura Unified School District brought theory into practice that directly influenced the individual and organizational core values to benefit their students! 

Joseph M. Domingues, Principal
Santa Maria High School, Santa Maria, CA

Her book will be at the top of my list as a must read recommendation for all my colleagues at the District Office.

Peter Flores III, Director of Student Services
Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, Santa Maria, CA

The book is full of compassion, conviction and hope—pure heart, pure corazón—in the quest to tackle inequality and the opportunity gap head on.

Gilberto Q. Conchas, Professor of Educational Policy and Social Context
School of Education, University of California, Irvine

Trudy T. Arriaga

Dr. Trudy T. Arriaga currently serves as the Dean of Equity and Outreach in the Graduate School of Education at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. She continues to contribute to the field of education through keynote speeches, workshops, leadership and equity institutes, and professional development collaborations. Trudy has enjoyed a 40-year career in education, including 14 years as the first female superintendent for Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) before retiring in July 2015. Her early roles include working as a bilingual paraeducator, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director. In recognition of her... More About Author

Randall B. Lindsey

Randall B. Lindsey is Emeritus Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. He has served as a teacher, an administrator, executive director of a non-profit corporation, as Interim Dean at California Lutheran University, as Distinguished Educator in Residence at Pepperdine University, and as Chair of the Education Department at the University of Redlands. All of Randy’s experiences have been in working with diverse populations and his area of study is the behavior of white people in multicultural settings. His Ph.D. is in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University, his Master of Arts in Teaching is in History Education... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483388793