Our Approach to Culturally Responsive Leadership

We support leaders within the context of their communities and take a systemic approach to addressing local leadership needs.

To consistently provide each student access to the learning opportunities they need to excel, schools need strong culturally responsive leaders. We define culturally responsive leadership as being able to recognize how institutionalized racism affects your own life and the lives of the students and families you work with, and embracing your role in mitigating, disrupting and dismantling systemic oppression.

Culturally responsive leaders focus on academic success, cultural competence, and developing students’ and educators’ abilities to think critically about the world around them. They create learning experiences intentionally built to meet the needs of every child. Being culturally responsive is the work at the heart of making school systems more equitable. 

We support school and school system leaders in using an equity lens to implement a vision, build strong school and district culture, set clear and high expectations, and develop and lead principals and teachers who ensure rigorous and culturally responsive instruction and the opportunity for all students to be successful.

“The Leadership Academy was a transformative experience for me. When I left the Academy, I knew my belief system, I knew my values. I was equipped to go into a school that was low performing, where well intended, loving teachers and staff needed to rethink expectations for children. I knew what it meant to bring teachers, with different perspectives, to the table to be able to strengthen and to build from where they are.”

– Marisol Rosales, Executive Superintendent for Manhattan, NYC Department of Education

We offer research-based hands-on, job-embedded learning experiences and deep group instruction to maximize development, and guide leaders through hard conversations on race and bias, developing their ability to lead their own staff in the work required to disrupt systemic inequities.

A strategic approach is essential for making authentic and sustainable growth and change. We help leaders and their teams conduct equity-informed assessments of systems, policies, and practices, and use those findings to prioritize needs and develop and implement longer-term strategies. We provide and can customize professional learning that develops culturally responsive leaders equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources to advance equity, including reflecting on their personal equity journey, defining and observing culturally responsive instruction, and building school and family coalitions.

Our approach includes four major components:

  • School System Equity Self-Assessment

    Our free self-assessment tool provides a framework for school and district leaders to evaluate the state of equity in their school system and to identify and prioritize areas for improvement.

  • Equity Audit

    Our equity audit process enables school systems to diagnose the current state of equity and identify focal points and recommended strategies for making improvements.

  • Strategic Equity Planning and Implementation

    We help districts create and execute equity-focused strategic plans that are well-positioned to achieve systemwide improvement goals.

  • Customized Professional Learning

    We create customized professional learning focused on culturally responsive leadership for our partner school systems.

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