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Culturally Responsive Teaching: Strategies So All Learners Are Seen and Understood

Monday, September 23, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Strategies So All Learners Are Seen and Understood

Presented by Monica Washington, Manager of Inclusive and Responsive Educational Practices, and Instructional Coach for BetterLesson; Jenny Muñiz, Senior Program Associate, Education Policy program, New America; Kelisa Wing, Professional Development Specialist; and Medha Tare, Senior Research Scientist, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise
Hosted by Barbara Pape, Communications Director, Learner Variability Project

Sponsored by Digital Promise

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“Horrifying, harrowing, upsetting and infuriating,” are words Odie Henderson used in his review of Ava Duvernay’s film, When They See Us, about the Central Park Five. Though the tragedy occurred in 1989, when coupled with today’s backdrop of hate crimes against people of color and immigrants, the pressure of teaching to standards and knowing how to address the everyday violence around us presents a challenge for teachers. As a protestor from the film noted, “There is injustice happening here.”

In this edWebinar, the presenters react to a few clips from the film and take a deep dive into some of the issues that surfaced and strategies that can be used to create an environment that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion. Two award-winning teachers discuss their strategies for educators to handle historic incidents and current race-based disparities, discrimination, and dehumanization of people, with the goal to create safe spaces for all students to learn and engage fully in their education. The backdrop for our conversation is a survey of state standards relating to culturally responsive teaching from New America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Learner Variability Project’s senior researcher makes connections with learning sciences research on how learners are impacted by traumatic experiences and stereotype threat and what they need to overcome these challenges. Issues addressed include:

  • The importance of building relationships with each student
  • The importance of creating safe environments for the full diversity of learners
  • The ability to understand the variability in each learner and how that helps a teacher design classroom environments and instructional choices
  • How social awareness and relationship skills can affect learning, especially for adolescents
  • Strategies teachers can start to use tomorrow to nurture each student and help them reach their potential in school

The edWebinar will highlight how individual steps can be taken towards finding agency, racial identity validation, and community. The discussion will emphasize that it takes everyone working together to create long-lasting, systemic change. This recorded presentation will be of interest to elementary through high school teachers, librarians, counselors, and school and district leaders.

About the Presenters

Monica Washington is the manager of Inclusive and Responsive Educational Practices and an instructional coach for BetterLesson, supporting teachers and other instructional coaches across the country as they make positive shifts in instruction and leadership. A decorated educator of 21 years, Monica has received honors and awards from a wide variety of organizations for her leadership, advocacy, and classroom instruction. She is a 2015 Milken Unsung Hero Fellow and a 2015 NEA Foundation Global Fellow. In addition to instructional coaching, Monica supports teachers through workshops, speaking engagements, and blogging for Education Week and Education Post. Her, “4 Things Great Principals Don’t Do,” was the most read and shared Education Week post of 2017. She is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive school environments that celebrate teacher and student voice, and she serves as Leading Educator Ambassador for Equity for the Education Civil Rights Alliance. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Education Association Foundation. Monica is the 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year.


Jenny Muñiz is a senior program associate with the Education Policy program at New America. After serving as a New America Millennial Public Policy Fellow, Jenny joined the PreK–12 team, where she researches and reports on policies and practices related to English learners, culturally responsive education, and educational equity. Before joining New America, she taught second grade in San Antonio, where she was the lead bilingual teacher on her campus.


Kelisa WingKelisa Wing has been an educator for 12 years. She taught eighth grade language arts and reading to military-connected children at Faith Middle School in Fort Benning, Georgia, has been an elementary school assistant principal, and is now a professional development specialist. Kelisa honorably served in the U.S. Army for six years and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. She is the author of Weeds & Seeds: How to Stay Positive in the Midst of Life’s Storms and Promises and Possibilities: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

She is a 2017 State Teacher of the year, a 2016 Association of Supervision, Curriculum, and Development (ASCD) Emerging Leader, and the 2017 University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. She is a member of the Leading Educator Ambassadors for Equity (LEAE) with the Education Civil Rights Alliance (ECRA), a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), and a member of ASCD. She is also is on the advisory board for Learner Variability Project and Digital Promise. She speaks both nationally and internationally about discipline reform, equity, student engagement, and many other topics. Kelisa holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UMUC, a Master of Arts in secondary education, and an Educational Specialist degree with a concentration in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership from the University of Phoenix.


Medha TareMedha Tare has more than ten years of experience conducting applied research in the learning sciences. She enjoys translating research to non-academic audiences so it can be used by practitioners in the classroom and by the learners themselves. She is currently the senior research scientist for the Learner Variability Project, leading the synthesis of research on learners’ strengths and challenges and evaluating the impact of the project’s work on learners across the country. She holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan.


About the Host

Barbara Pape is the communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise Global (DPG). She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as Executive Producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education) and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She earned an EdM at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.

Join the Personalize Learning for Learner Variability community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.


Monday, September 23, 2019
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT
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