Book of the Month Review
Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain
by Zaretta Hammond Published in 2014
To close the achievement gap, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement. Culturally responsive instruction has shown promise, but many teachers have struggled with its implemention - until now.
In this book, Zaretta Hammond draws on cultting-edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain-compatible culturally responsive instruction. The book includes:
"I know my own mind.
I am able to assess others in a fair and accurate way."
These self-perceptions are challenged by leading psychologists Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald as they explore the hidden biases we all carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality.
“Blindspot” is the authors’ metaphor for the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. Writing with simplicity and verve, Banaji and Greenwald question the extent to which our perceptions of social groups―without our awareness or conscious control―shape our likes and dislikes and our judgments about people’s character, abilities, and potential.
In Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test, a method that has revolutionized the way scientists learn about the human mind and that gives us a glimpse into what lies within the metaphoric blindspot.
Excellence Through Equity is an inspiring look at how real-world educators are creating schools where all students are able to thrive. In these schools, educators understand that equity is not about treating all children the same. They are deeply committed to ensuring that each student receives what he or she individually needs to develop their full potential—and succeed.
To help educators with what can at times be a difficult and challenging journey, Blankstein and Noguera frame the book with five guiding principles of Courageous Leadership:
They further emphasize that the practices are grounded in three important areas of research that are too often disregarded: (1) child development, (2) neuroscience, and (3) environmental influences on child development and learning.
Gary Howard outlines what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. Change Begins With Us: School transformation begins with the teachers' willingness to change their classroom structures, school structures, and themselves. It is crucial that teachers make the commitment to look deep inside themselves to see how they can better their attitudes, practices, and beliefs related to race and cultural differences. This book is a reminder to teaching is more than a job; it is a vocation in which we must dedicate our entire self.
WSD Equity Advisory Committee Members
Kilo Zamora - Social Change Facilitation, CEO; Gender Studies Faculty, University of Utah
Jackie Thompson - Governor's Multicultural Commission and Retired Educator
Forrest Crawford - Professor, Weber State University
Kathleen Christy - Retired Educational Equity Director
WSD Equity Committee Members
Dr. Jeff Stephens - Superintendent
Lori Rasmussen - Assistant Superintendent
Art Hansen - Assistant Superintendent
Jan Burrell - Board Member, WSD Board of Education
Gina Butters - Executive Director, Secondary
Cami Alexander - Executive Director, Elementary
Jamie Ellis - Director, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion
Karla Porter - Director, Student Services
Clyde Moore - Supervisor, Secondary Education
Karen Miller - Coordinator, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion
Ray Long - Retired Administator, WSD
Brandon Baca - Teacher, Social Studies; President, WEA
Lorena Hernandez - Teacher, Spanish Immerison
Barb Whitman - Director, Ogden-Weber UniServ
Heidi Alder - WSD Legal Counsel
Sandy Lambert - Support Staff
WSD Equity Team
Melinda Stimpson - Roy High School/Social Studies Teacher
Amy Herrick - Roy High School/LIA and EL Teacher
Anneke Petersen - Two Rivers High/Counselor
Jenny Stone - Two Rivers High/Language Arts Teacher
Alexandra Smith - Sand Ridge Jr. High/Spanish, ESL Teacher
Natasha Davis - Bonneville High School/Counselor
Cedric Smith - T.H. Bell Jr. High/Science Teacher
Clay Dyer - Washington Terrace Elementary/6th Grade Teacher
Craig Pitts - H Guy Elementary/2nd Grade Teacher
Melanie Malan - Weber High School/Spanish Teacher
Marian Doman - Orion Junior High/History Teacher
Julie Smith - Bates Elementary/Counselor
Melissa LeeMaster - North Ogden Elementary/Reading Specialist
Amy Ogle - Valley Elementary/5th Grade Teacher
Trudy Sportsman - Rocky Mountain Jr. High/Library, Media Specialist
Caysie Bowden - Rocky Mountain Junior High/Counselor
Sher Elliott - Plain City Elementary/Counselor
Jennifer Warren – District/SpEd Supervisor
Quinn Talbot - T. H. Bell Junior High School/Asst. Principal
Nick Reyes - Bonneville High School/Asst. Principal
Brandon Lott - Freedom Elementary/Principal
Christy Wagner - District Curriculum Specialist
Juliana Woodbury - Canyon View/Principal
Nichole Warren-Doman - Bonneville High/Asst. Principal
Justin Skeen - Lomond View/Principal
Alicia Mitchell - Fremont High School/Asst. Principal
Phil Nestoryak - Valley View Elementary/Principal
Highlighting schools in Weber School District working towards Equity, Justice, and Inclusion.
Valley View Elementary School
Riverdale Elementary School
Schoolwide assembly for students on "See Something. Do Something." Assembly was led by Bonneville High School studentbody officers, with performance by the Bonneville High School Drumline.
Orion Junior High School
Latinos In Action Parent Night
Planting Seeds of Equity
Change is a continuous process. You cannot assess it with the static yardstick of a limited time frame. When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant. You have to be patient. With time, it grows into a large tree. And then the flowers bloom, and only then can the fruits be plucked. - Mamata Banerjee
Culturally Responsive Teaching
Culturally Responsive Teaching is teaching and leading in such a way that more of your students, across more of their differencing, achieve at a high level and engage at a deeper level. It is knowing and understanding your students.
Cultural Competence is the will and ability to form authentic and effective relationships across differences.
Culturally responsive pedagogy can be a game-changer in a school’s pursuit of educational equity. There are misconceptions about what culturally responsive pedagogy is and how it works. CRT is more than just a set of multicultural activities, social justice lessons, or kinesthetic learning strategies. It is so much more. Check out the resources at this site.
Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use our materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.
Hispanic Heritage Month - September/October
Bullying Prevention Month - October
Unity Day - October 20, 2021
LGBT History Month - October
National American Indian Heritage Month - November
International Holocaust Remembrance Day - January 27
American History Month - February
Black History Month - Feburary
Greek-American Heritage Month - March
Gender Equality Month - March
National Women's History Month - March
World Autism Awareness Day - April 2
National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month - May
Jewish American Heritage Month - May
LGBT Pride Month - June
Resources for parents:
Section 504 Parent Guide of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [ENGLISH]
Section 504 Parent Guide of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [SPANISH]
Post-Secondary 504 Accommodation Plans
Section 504 Parent & Student Rights and Safeguards [ENGLISH]
Section 504 Parent & Student Rights and Safeguards [SPANISH]
Section 504 Complaint Form
Section 504 Letter to Health Care Professionals
Section 504 Consent for Evaluation Form
Sección 504 Formulario De Consentimiento Para Evaluación
Resources for school administrators:
Section 504 Consent for Evaluation Form [ENGLISH]
Section 504 Consent for Evaluation Form [SPANISH]
Section 504 Eligibility and Planning Worksheet
Section 504 Teacher Input Form
A Parent Guide to Section 504 - Tri-fold Brochure [ENGLISH]
A Parent Guide to Section 504 - Tri-fold Brochure [SPANISH]
(click to images to enlarge)
Every community, at some point, must confront issues of racial diversity. Oftentimes, the active response addresses only the immediate crisis, is done in isolation, and without strategies and tools. This may attend to the immediate need but often is not inclusive of the culture of the community or school as a whole.
Weber School District has taken a much more comprehensive and systemic approach to develop a shared vision of educational equity. School and district officials have carefully examined data from multiple stakeholders regarding equity concerns. This data was gathered from focus groups, teachers, parents, and student surveys, and has been formulated into a framework with meaningful indicators. This equity work began in 2018 with the formulation of the Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee (EJIC). The Equity Committee is comprised of key district level leadership, including Superintendent Jeff Stephens and Assistant Superintendents Lori Rasmussen and Art Hansen, as well as teachers and building level administrators. The EJIC has been guided by social change facilitator Kilo Zamora, with state leadership advisors included in the discussion on educational equity for Weber School District. Through this thoughtful process and the commitment of equity, the committee recommended the hiring of an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Director in 2019.
During the 2019-2020 school year, an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Team (EJIT) was formed. This team is led by EJI Director, Jamie Ellis, and includes educators and staff from Weber School District, with representation from all district geographic areas. This past school year, both the EJIC and EJIT reviewed the framework based on stakeholder input, and listed priorities to WSD equity work. One of the top priorities from stakeholders is providing a Safe Learning Environment. In the 2019-2020 school year, the EJI Director has focused training staff in this area including topics on unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, and building an inclusive school culture. Currently, the EJIC is working on an action plan, based on the data set listed above, to be released for fall of 2020. We will have resources and strategies in place to support our students and staff returning to school this fall. With our hearts full of humanity, we will walk through this together.
It is important in equity work to distribute leadership. The adoption of this framework was essential to the cultural transformation process. Understanding that this is a learning journey that necessitates staff to stretch and learn about race and racism, to managing discomfort with difficult conversations, and building capacity among all for this work to thrive and grow. When it comes to racial equity, such efforts often carry an extra level of pressure. This is because efforts seeking to enhance equity and inclusion can trigger both conscious and unconscious anxieties when individuals examine values, norms, behaviors, and perceptions. When a framework is implemented effectively, racial equity work can be the catalyst to exploring lived experience, as well as individual transformation. Interactions that make us want to shut down are moments where we are being challenged to think differently. Too often, we cloud this healthy stretch zone with our personal discomfort zone. As a result, we tend to shut down. Committing to staying engaged through the uncomfortable stretch is necessary to push through to real change.
Weber School District is committed to ongoing learning. The work of building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture is never done. This work is not easy. It will take the support of all to move this work forward. However, we have the framework to guide us and the heart to achieve a positive, safe culture in our schools.
Jeff Stephens; Superintendent
Lori Rasmussen; Assistant Superintendent
Art Hansen; Assistant Superintendent
Weber School District is home to 32,588 students, with 5999 students of racial diversity and 1198 students identified as English Language Learners.
We enjoyed hosting Roy High School for their Career Exploration activity at WSU. The students spent 4 hours with us as they rotated in groups through a campus tour, a hands-on Anatomage table demonstration, tours of the plasticized cadaver lab, and the simulations lab. There were 45 students (one which happened to be a NUAHEC Scholar, to our surprise).
We're excited about our NUAHEC Scholars upcoming high school graduations. They complete our program on May 17th and will receive a certificate of completion, a letter of congratulations from Dean Simonian, Dr. Magill, and Dr. Briesacher as well as the coveted first edition NUAHEC Scholar graduation medal. Just in time to wear their medal during their (8 different) high school graduations the following week. It's been a privilege to have them in our program and to develop what we hope will be lifelong relationships with each of them.
Heather Smith Orion FACS teacher shows off the projects that she has been working on with her FACS students. She and her students made these for patients at Primary Children's Hospital. They also made some awesome Chromebook cases for Orion Jr. High. These projects benefited others.