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Culturally Proficient Learning Communities
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Culturally Proficient Learning Communities
Confronting Inequities Through Collaborative Curiosity

Edited by:

Foreword by Shirley M. Hord



September 2009 | 168 pages | Corwin
'Cultural proficiency challenges learning communities to go even deeper when inquiring about student barriers to success. This perspective is necessary to truly address the achievement and expectation gaps in our schools. Before we ask ourselves why our students are not succeeding, we must understand and examine our own perceptions and assumptions about them'—Timothy A. Bias, Administrator, Pomona Unified School District, CA

Close the achievement gap with equity-focused professional learning communities!

Professional learning communities (PLCs) can be a powerful force for creating equitable, inclusive schools where all students succeed. Integrating the four Tools of Cultural Proficiency with the PLC framework, this relevant guide offers school leaders, district administrators, and staff developers a collaborative approach to address bias and inequity.

Culturally Proficient Learning Communities discusses the impact of our history on cultural understanding and provides a wealth of practical PLC-building strategies—including assessment and inquiry-driven planning, instructional design, curriculum development, coaching, leadership, and shared decision making. The authors examine the goals, purpose, and process of creating and sustaining equity-focused PLCs through:

- Templates, protocols, activities, and rubrics for deconstructing inequity in student achievement

- Stories, tools, and thinking prompts to guide an inside-out transformation toward cultural proficiency

- An extended example of one school district's journey in becoming a culturally proficient learning community

Schools that view diversity and differences as assets and opportunities will experience stronger holistic growth and increased academic achievement!

 
Foreword by Shirley M. Hord
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Part 1. Getting Centered
 
1. Getting Centered With the Tools of Cultural Proficiency
 
2. Getting Centered With Our History
 
3. Getting Centered: The Evolution of Learning Communities
 
Part 2. Voices From the Field
 
4. Maple View: Sustaining a Culturally Proficient Learning Community
 
5. Assessing Cultural Knowledge Through Shared Personal Practice
 
6. Valuing Diversity Is a Reflection of Shared Beliefs, Values, and Vision
 
7. Managing the Dynamics of Difference Through Collaboration
 
8. Adapting to Diversity Through Supportive and Shared Conditions
 
9. Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge Through Collective Learning
 
Part 3. Call to Action: Disturb the System Through Curiosity and Inquiry
 
10. Aligning Our Behaviors With Our Values
 
References
 
Index

"From the very first word, this book provokes thinking and cultural responsibility for educating one’s self and others. The collaboration of the authors and their collective knowledge and experiences both challenge and celebrate every culture’s contribution for every student’s success. The focus on student achievement through the development of cultural proficiency is imperative to creating a community of learners where all students perform at levels higher than before. The end results will not only create culturally proficient educators, but also culturally proficient learning communities that promote and foster global education, collaboration for lifelong learning, and world citizenship."

Duncan DeBruhl, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services Department
Victor Valley Union High School District, Victorville, CA

"This groundbreaking publication is unrivaled in its explication of the role of cultural awareness in ensuring equity for the diverse groups in a school community. The authors deftly provide a treasure trove of tools and ideas that can give direction to educators who seek to support the varied cultures served in their schools. The volume is indispensible for leaders of learning community schools."

Sylvia Roberts, Associate Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership
The City College of New York

"Culturally Proficient Learning Communities challenges the paradigm of the current PLC structure. This book brings in a crucial tenet that until now has been left out of the PLC discussion: a willingness to have deeper conversations about issues of equity and access. The new framework is sure to stretch educators as they begin the process of using an inside-out approach to examine personal cultural norms and the way the norms impact leadership and instructional practices."

Stacie Stanley, Program Director, Office of Equity and Integration
East Metro Integration District 6067, Maplewood, MN

"This book is an affirmation of the combined experiences of the valiant authors and their commitment to the process of positive change within the educational system. This is truly a book that can be used in any school in America, and should be read by every administrator whose vocabulary includes the word 'diversity.'"

Jean M. Rogers, Educator
Fontana Unified School District, CA

"Cultural proficiency challenges learning communities to go even deeper when inquiring about student barriers to success. This perspective is necessary to truly address the achievement and expectation gaps in our schools. Before we ask ourselves why our students are not succeeding, we must examine and understand our own perceptions and assumptions about them."

Timothy A. Bias, Administrator
Pomona Unified School District, CA

"In many schools, professional learning communities are being established to enhance collaboration and communication among faculty. Many of these learning communities are focused on improving teaching and learning, but they continue to struggle to raise achievement for all of their students. This new book challenges professional learning communities to advance to the next level—to tackle the hard issues of diversity in the school setting. In a thoughtful and engaging style, the authors provide guidance for school faculties to close achievement gaps."

Rose Owens-West, Senior Project Director
WestEd

"This book asks two questions: What does it take to ensure that all students perform at higher levels than ever before? And what does it take to shake up our own thinking as educators, administrators, and parents in our communities to ensure that all students achieve these high levels of performance in a sustained manner? Whether we are Americans or Africans, answering these questions requires nothing less than that we turn our educational systems as well as ourselves inside out."

Leloba Molema, Professor
University of Botswana

"The authors help us to understand that a professional learning community is not an activity, but a way of being with others as co-learners. This guide includes valuable protocols and activities, as well as real-world scenarios that encourage reflection and allow us as school leaders to construct our own understandings. From the outset, we are gently coached to examine our core beliefs and how they frame our purpose as educators. This reflective process allows us to develop the skills necessary to lead school teams toward cultural proficiency."

Luis R. Valentino, Director of School Service, and Elizabeth J. Valentino, Assistant Principal
Los Angeles Unified School District

"A book that encourages educators to examine their practices by asking tough questions and providing a road map for collaborative inquiry in straightforward, accessible language."

Teaching Tolerance magazine
Fall 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1


Preview this book

Delores B. Lindsey

Delores B. Lindsey, Ph.D., retired as Assistant Professor of Educational Administration, at California State University, San Marcos. However, she has not retired from the educational profession. Using the lens of Cultural Proficiency, Dr. Lindsey helps educational leaders examine their policies and practices, as well as their individual beliefs and values about cross-cultural communication.  Delores’ message to her audiences focuses on socially just educational practices and diversity as assets to be nurtured. Dr. Lindsey coaches educators to develop their own inquiry and action research.  Her favorite reflective questions are:... More About Author

Linda D. Jungwirth

Dr. Linda Jungwirth, Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) California Educator of the Year–Professor of Education (2013), and President of Convening Conversations, Inc., is passionately devoted to supporting organizations in Culturally Proficient Leadership, building trusting, inclusive, collaborative communities. Dr. Jungwirth taught middle and high school science, and served as: district technology coordinator; county office curriculum and professional development coordinator serving 66 districts in Southern California; and director of the Center for the Advancement of Small Learning Environments for 19 high schools in... More About Author

Jarvis V.N.C. Pahl

Jarvis V.N.C. Pahl is executive director of Pahl Business & Educational Consortium (PBEC). She taught biology and microbiology in California, Maryland, Connecticut, and Brazil. She also taught while in the Peace Corps, and in Botswana Africa. As a school administrator, she worked in California high schools and school districts. She was a member of the Graduate School of Education’s School Management Program at the University of California in Los Angeles. She has traveled in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Antarctica, and the Arctic Circle. She speaks Portuguese, some Setswana (language of Botswana), and Spanish. As... 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. Prior to that he served for seventeen years at California State University, Los Angeles in the Division of Administration and Counseling. All of Randy’s experiences have been in working with diverse populations and his area of study is the behavior of white people in... More About Author

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