R.A.C.C.E.’s strategic plan for engaging school professionals primarily consists of our five-phase cultural competency training through an interactive professional development approach. Local, state, and federal data related to the achievement gap for minority populations (including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and ability) serve as a backdrop for culturally competent teaching practice. The curriculum itself is based in theories that require self-evaluation and self-critique by the school professional. The concepts of privilege, bias, oppression, and overall power dynamics will be highlighted to explain the influence that race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic backgrounds have on school professionals’ expectations of student achievement, discipline, and school connectedness. These are the core aspects of professional development, which will assist school professionals in developing cultural competency.
RACCE’s Five-Phase Professional Development Objectives
Phase I: School professionals will learn about the introductory concepts of privilege, implicit and explicit bias, and teacher expectation. These concepts will serve as the foundation for understanding the macro and micro dynamics that impact the learning process.
Phase II: School professionals will critically explore their own experiences with a focus on where they identify themselves in the power dynamic of privilege. This will occur in a safe and supportive environment that aims to assist school professionals during this profound process.
Phase III: School professionals will learn about the ongoing process of cultural competency and its implications for effective teaching practices. Cross-cultural knowledge, skills, and awareness, as cited in educational inquiry, serve as the cornerstones of this phase.
Phase IV: Demographics of the student body will be presented to school professionals. Social and cultural phenomenon related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, and ability will be reviewed in the context of student achievement. School policy and legislative mandates will be reviewed and addressed as they relate to the application of culturally competent teaching practices. This will include data analysis unique to the district(s) R.A.C.C.E. is engaging with; and will focus on over and under representation of minority students in academic programs (special education or honors programs), involved in punitive disciplinary interventions, graduation rates and academic performance.
Phase V: School professionals will create personal plans and recommendations for applying cultural competency skills to their work in the classroom and across the district. These plans will focus on school professional’s required core efficiencies for interactions with the students.
Follow up: Professional development workshops are most effective when they are sustained, intense, and include follow-up sessions (e.g., Guskey & Yoon, 2009; Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009). Therefore, school professionals and their districts will have the opportunity to review and discuss their application of culturally competent teaching practices.