“Developing Critical Cultural Competence provides educators with the inspiration, knowledge, and tools to move from theory to action in seeking to eliminate the achievement gap.”

—Bess Scott, Director of Elementary Education Lincoln Public Schools, NE

“As I read this book, it became clear that my long-held belief about the meaning of cultural competence needed a makeover. I am now convinced that my personal definition of diversity should embrace a much deeper appreciation of differences and transformative action.”

—Denise Carlson, Curriculum Consultant Heartland Area Education Agency, Johnston, IA

Cultural competence is key to improved student achievement

The increasingly diverse nature of today's schools and the need to increase the achievement of all students, no matter their background, requires 21st-century teachers to develop critical cultural competence. Looking at data is not enough. We have to know who our students are! This book shows you how to provide professional development that deepens teachers' cultural understanding. Developing Critical Cultural Competence helps educators translate new knowledge into action with activities that focus on the three inseparable insights required for developing teachers' critical cultural competency:

Understanding themselves; Understanding their students; Understanding their students' families and communities.

In addition to the activities are reflection questions, group discussion questions, online extensions for facilitators, and a sample professional development plan. A companion website provides reproducible resource lists and handouts as well as examples that can serve as models for some of the activities.

Learning about the Community: How can We Learn More about Parents and Families?

Learning about the community: How can we learn more about parents and families?


We all know that we are living in an era of standards-based reform. Fortunately, some of these reforms emphasize more deliberate engagement with the families and home communities of our students. In this chapter, we revisit the purpose of standards-based reforms, which are primarily intended as a mechanism for greater accountability. In response to such reforms, we describe methods for getting educators involved in the community based on Epstein's (1995, 2001) typology of traditional versus nontraditional ways of including and learning from parents. Most of these methods are being used in school systems across the United States with the goal ...

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