Culturally Responsive & Inclusive Practices

“I believe that work of excellence is transformational. Once a student sees that he or she is capable of excellence, that student is never quite the same. There is a new self-image, a new notion of possibility. There is an appetite for excellence. After students have had a taste of excellence, they’re never quite satisfied with less; they’re always hungry.” ~ Ron Berger, Author of An Ethic of Excellence

Deeper Learning

I have work and volunteer experiences that demonstrate my deep desire to support our educators to challenge and support all students to excel academically. It is important to me that my work serves to challenge any assumptions that a child's skin color, physical or cognitive labels, address or national origin predetermines educational access or outcomes.

In my current role, I facilitate Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) online courses for personalized learning and evaluate the artifacts submitted by teachers working to earn the VBCPS Specialization for Personalized Learning. That work reinforces and validates my belief that eliciting student voice, inquiry, and intentional steps to build culture and community in a classroom are important ways to demonstrate cultural responsiveness as vehicle for developing student agency.

The Five C's

Before the Five Cs were common, and before I took my first teaching job, I earned a graduate degree that focused on mathematics education. The most important take-away from that learning experience was the equal importance of content standards and process standards. Reasoning, communication, connections, mathematical representations, problem-solving, and proof were embedded in our work. Those skills and the five Cs foster deeper learning and engagement.

My 25 years of experience has taught me the importance of such skills and the power they have for providing access and opportunities for students. It is through such skills that students learn about themselves as learners. When teachers embed these practices into students' learning experiences, they can learn more about their students and inspire learners to see the possibilities for their future.

Project-Based Learning

As a middle school Instructional Coach for Deeper Learning, I was immersed in training and used what I learned to support the Isle of Wight County Project-Based Learning initiative. The six A's as described below are drivers of deeper and authentic learning experiences that allow students to connect with their peers and community.

  • ACADEMIC RIGOR - Projects address key school division learning standards and help students develop habits of mind and work associated with academic and professional disciplines.

  • AUTHENTICITY- Projects use a real world context (e.g., community and workplace problems) and address issues that matter to the students.

  • APPLIED LEARNING - Projects engage students in solving semi-structured problems calling for competencies expected in high-performance work organizations (teamwork, problem-solving, communication, etc.).

  • ACTIVE EXPLORATION Projects extend beyond the classroom and connect to work internships, field-based investigations, and community explorations.

  • ADULT CONNECTIONS - Projects connect students with adult mentors and coaches from the wider community.

  • ASSESSMENT PRACTICES - Projects involve students in regular exhibitions and assessments of their work in light of personal, school and real-world standards of performance.