State Board Adds Culturally Responsive Teaching and Equitable Practices to Teacher Standards
Posted by Bhargav Ram Nara on March 24, 2021, 9:30 AM EDT
RICHMOND — The Virginia Board of Education has revised its teacher performance standards and evaluation criteria to add a standard on culturally responsive teaching and equitable practices.
The action during the board’s March 18 meeting reflects the board’s commitment in its comprehensive plan to support the recruitment, development, and retention of well-prepared and skilled teachers and supporting equity and culturally responsive classrooms for all students. The new standard also carries out legislation approved by the 2021 General Assembly (House Bill 1904 and Senate Bill 1196) requiring that teacher evaluations include an evaluation of cultural competency.
“Cultural competency and equitable practices are essential for teachers to achieve success in the commonwealth’s increasingly diverse schools,” Board of Education President Dan Gecker said. “By setting this new expectation at the state level, we begin a process — supported by professional development for teachers and administrators — that will ultimately effect needed changes at the division, school and classroom levels and improve learning environments and outcomes for all of our students.”
“I applaud the Board of Education’s expedient action to implement SB 1196 and HB 1904, carried by Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Clinton Jenkins, which codify the Governor’s Commission on African American History Education’s top recommendations,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “The board’s addition of this standard will ensure that culturally responsive pedagogy is a key skill for educators, benefitting all Virginia learners.”
The board’s action adds the following performance standard to the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers: “The teacher demonstrates a commitment to equity and provides instruction and classroom strategies that result in culturally inclusive and responsive learning environments and academic achievement for all students.”
Examples of teacher work and practices aligned with the new standard include, but are not limited to the following:
· Disaggregation of assessment, engagement, behavioral, and attendance data by student groups and identification and application of differentiated strategies to address growth and learning needs of all students with specific attention to students within gap groups;
· Fostering of classroom environments that create opportunities for access and achievement by acknowledging, valuing, advocating and affirming cultural and social diversity in all aspects of the learning process, including for gender, race, ethnicity, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities;
· Building of meaningful relationships with all students anchored in affirmation, mutual respect and validation by employing culturally responsive teaching practices and by the modeling of high expectations for all students.
· Use of inclusive curriculum and instructional resources that represent and validate diversity from all rings of culture including generational, gender, religion, class, nationality, race, ethnicity, native language, ability and sexuality by connecting classroom curriculum and instruction to the cultural examples, experiences, backgrounds, and traditions of all learners;
· Analysis, selection, and integration of texts, materials, and classroom resources that reflect cultural inclusivity and the needs of all students, including for gender, race, ethnicity, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities;
· Use of communication strategies that are inclusive of the language, dialects, cultural, social and literacy needs of all students (including gender, race, ethnicity, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities); and
· Teaching students the skills necessary to communicate and engage with diverse groups in ways that support the eradication of discrimination and bias while mitigating against classroom power imbalances (based on race, ethnicity, gender, identity, ability, and/or socio economic status) that perpetuate fear and anxiety of difference.
“Many of our school divisions already recognize the importance of culturally responsive instruction and equitable practices in their curricula and professional development programs,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “The adoption and eventual implementation of this new performance standard begins the process of creating a statewide focus on these critical components for student success and equipping all of our teachers with the knowledge and skills to help every student reach their highest potential.”
Under the revised guidance, teachers are expected to demonstrate their commitment to equity and provide instruction and classroom strategies that result in culturally inclusive and responsive learning environments and student engagement practices and academic achievement for all students.
The addition of a standard on culturally responsive teaching and equitable practices to the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers represents phase two of a three-phase plan to revise the guidance document, which school divisions follow in developing local systems for teacher evaluation and development.
The first phase — implemented and approved in 2019 — addressed the weighting of the seven existing performance standards for the evaluation of teachers. The final phase will begin this spring and will include a comprehensive review and revision the Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, including the development of a model system for evaluating teachers.
“Our ultimate goal is the creation of an integrated teacher evaluation system that assesses the needs of our teachers and dovetails those needs with professional development that increases their classroom effectiveness and raises the achievement of all students,” Gecker said.