Culturally responsive instruction in the era of the maryland education reform act
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Culturally Responsive Instruction in the Era of the Maryland Education Reform Act. Baltimore County Public Schools’ Office of Equity and Assurance in collaboration with: Department of Professional Development World Languages Special Education Title I Instructional Technology

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Culturally Responsive Instruction in the Era of the Maryland Education Reform Act

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Culturally Responsive Instruction in the Era of the Maryland Education Reform Act

Baltimore County Public Schools’

Office of Equity and Assurance in collaboration with:

Department of Professional Development

World Languages

Special Education

Title I

Instructional Technology

Student Support Services

Why is the conversation so crucial at this moment?

The purposes of these workshops…

The Need for Developing Culturally Responsive Instruction

Culturally Responsive Instruction is…

Having Educational practices significantly relevant to engender intrinsic motivation in all students

A Culturally Responsive School…

Enables a staff to demonstrate cultural competence

Culturally Responsive Instruction is…Building relationships with students

Culturally Responsive Instruction is…Having high expectations for all students

Culturally Responsive Instruction is…Providing the needed support for all students to meet high expectations

Culture affects the way we…

  • Communicate

  • Behave

  • Think and learn

  • Participate in the educational process

Effectively delivered culturally responsive instruction….

  • Considers all those affective variables

  • Considers all those environmental variables

  • Considers all those communication variables

that mediate in the instructional process….

Let’s self-assess…

Through the BPP

and our demographic trends…

How close are we to All means All?

How close are we?

  • By 2012, all students will reach high standards, as established by the Baltimore County Public Schools and state performance level standards, in English/reading/writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

  • 86% of all students are proficient in Math

  • 88.6% of all students are proficient in reading

  • By 2012, all English language learners will become proficient in English and reach high academic standards in English/reading/writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

  • 70.59% of LEP students graduate

  • 85.8 % of LEP students are proficient in math

  • 81.5% of LEP students are proficient in reading

  • All students will graduate from high school.

What does our district level data tell us?

  • 86% of all students graduate

  • So what about the 14% that don’t?

If we juxtapose MSDE readiness data…

  • 83% of children entering BCPS enter ready….

  • The suggestion is that we are highly successful with students positioned for success….

On average

  • From around 15% of all students are not successful according to our goals as outlined in the Blueprint for Progress

  • What about the rest of them….what about the approximately 15% that need more support to meet with success

Courageous Conversations Relative to Our Most Vulnerable Student Groups

Economically Disadvantaged Students

Culture Clash

School Value System


Home Value System

  • Confront the implied norms of school and classroom practices!

Communication Barriers

  • Construct of Public Education

    • Deficit Thinking vs. Asset Based Thinking

      • Interpreting students differences as a deficit and not an asset promotes stereotypes and compromises access

        • Be mindful of the “Stereotype Threat” and the excessive focus on intervention instead of the quality implementation of the core curriculum

  • Language Barriers Compromises Access

    • Use of educational jargon

    • Implicit vs. Explicit Curriculum – Address the “hidden” curriculum by building students’ background knowledge and vocabulary

Students with disabilities

"Special education is not aplacewhere children go for services, but services children receive in accordance with their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in the least restrictive environment."

Least RestrictiveMost Restrictive

Culture Clash

Continuum of Service Options

Least RestrictiveEnvironment…according to who?

General Education

General Education

Special Class

Nonpublic School

Public Separate Day School

  • Inclusive Education

  • Early Childhood Learning Support

  • Adapted Learning Support

  • Behavior & Learning Support

  • Communication & Learning Support

  • Functional Academic Learning Support

  • Learning Support for Students who are

  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Communication Barriers

Service Delivery Models for SWD

  • One barrier associated with inclusion is a lack of communication among administrators, teachers, specialists, staff, parents, and students.

    • Open communication and coordinated planning between general education teachers and special education staff are essential for inclusion to work.

      Parental Involvement and Perceptions

  • Parental perceptions of their roles as communicators and decision makers in the special education process are often stifled due to cultural differences.

    • Special Education terminology is often a barrier in itself. Non-English speaking parents are many times intimidated by the IEP process and do not fully understand their rights.

    • Parents sometimes do not participate in the IEP process, not because they do not care, but because they do not understand.

African American Males

Culture Clash

  • A unique set of circumstances

    • Acute crises of relevance

    • Low expectations as expressed by low outcomes

    • Curriculum and Instructional practices that does not address diversity or student response

Communication Barriers

  • Disconnection between student language and teacher language

  • What’s with all the verve?

  • Socialization as an educational medium.

English Language Learners

Culture Clash

One example of potential culture clash is the situation of the English language learner new to Baltimore County and possibly to United States’ schools

Culture Clash

Conflict for the student may arise between

what is being emphasized at home

(English for negotiating world of work, helping the family, communicating in the community)


what is expected by the school

(English for academic achievement)

Communication Barriers

  • Language

  • Culture

    • Context afforded non-verbal communication

    • Indirect vs. direct communication style

    • Value of individual vs. collaborative work

    • Concepts of respect and honor

Two Groups of ELLs

Group One

Students born in the US (number 1 country of origin for ELLs)

  • Students and families fully acculturated, or

  • Students acculturated, but families not yet acculturated, and parents not fluent English speakers

Two Groups of ELLs

Group Two

Students recently immigrated into the US

  • Parents with a strong educational background, or

  • Parents having limited educational opportunities

Framing Courageous Conversations in Your Building


  • Meeting the Needs of Economically Disadvantaged Students

    • Office of Title I website (internet and intranet)

    • Office of Title I Resource Teacher, Program Specialists, Supervisors, and Coordinator

    • School Improvement Planning Documents

    • National Center for Children in Poverty

  • Meeting the needs of African American Males

    • Office of Equity and Assurance Website

    • College Board

    • The Schott Foundation

    • Maryland State Department of Education


  • Meeting the needs of English Language Learners

    • Five Bilingual ESOL Family/School Liaisons

      access to interpreters

      home/school connection

    • One Secondary ELL School Support Liaison

    • Office of World Languages website

    • Language line

    • Translated Behavior Handbooks


  • Meeting the needs of Students with Disabilities

    • Office of Special Education website (internet and intranet)

    • Office of Special Education Resource Teachers, Specialists, Supervisors, Coordinators and Director

    • Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services

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