As a school leader, what are you doing each day to show your team members and community that your school is committed to equitable outcomes for all students, particularly minoritized students? How are students’ intersectional identities, experiences, voice and choice integrated into every facet of the learning environment experience? What does a culturally relevant learning experience look like in person and remotely?

Dozens of reflection questions like these, and hundreds of possible answers in the form of action steps, comprise the core of The Leadership Academy’s new Portrait of a Culturally Responsive SchoolAs schools, school systems and states plan their budgets for next year, it is critical to keep in mind recent research that found that equity-focused leadership promotes more equitable school outcomes. Culturally responsive leadership is the “how” for dismantling inequities. 

Based on our research and experience supporting education leaders across the country, the Portrait offers school leaders and their teams guidance for developing practices, policies and structures that support the establishment of schools intentionally built to ensure children of every race, ethnicity, language or other characteristics of their identity, have what they need to achieve academic, social, and emotional success. Organized into The Leadership Academy’s eight critical action areas of a culturally responsive leader, this guide is designed to support leaders and their school communities in consciously disrupting systemic racism and decentering dominant culture in order to accelerate learning for every student.

As schools work to recover from and move beyond the Covid pandemic, there is a longer-term opportunity to reimagine what school can look like both in-person and remotely and to create more stabilizing forces for communities. This is the time to push beyond physical school building walls, seat time, school zones, and standardized exams. It is time to imagine and realize schools that are intentionally built for every child.

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