School of Education

Office of Strategic Engagement

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Customized Professional Learning

Customized Professional Learning Opportunities

Our team customizes professional learning opportunities focused on creating equity in schools and communities through culturally responsive best practices. Are you interested in customized training for your team? Contact us for customized professional learning options.

Professional Learning

The Office of Strategic Engagement customizes professional learning opportunities focused on creating equity in schools and communities through culturally responsive best practices explicitly focused on educator and community implicit biases. Our professional learning opportunities reflect VCU’s I-cubed efforts of urban transformation through collaborations and partnerships with local schools and communities focused on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion for Black and LatinX school children. Professional learning opportunities are designed for pre-service and current PreK-12 teachers and leaders with intentional purpose on addressing the racial, socio-economic and cultural inequities within area schools.

Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Culturally responsive best practices
  • Understanding implicit biases
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Leading in diverse communities

Culturally Responsive Teaching Professional Learning Topics

Understanding Implicit Bias               

Understanding bias is vital to our pursuit of equity as a culturally responsive educator. This session will further engage participants in understanding how implicit bias impacts our interactions and daily decisions. Specific strategies to recognize and minimize bias will be shared along with strategies to minimize microaggressions.

The View From Within

A prerequisite to becoming a culturally responsive practitioner, is the need to understand one's cultural frame of reference. This seminar will allow participants to engage in self-reflection to examine culture from a personal viewpoint. Cultural assumptions, stereotypes, and attitudes will be explored to facilitate a deeper understanding and appreciation for those from diverse backgrounds.

Relationships Matter

A key tenant of culturally responsive practice is to establish meaningful relationships with learners. Positive interactions, coupled with mutual trust and respect, breeds relationships that enable teachers and students to maximize educational opportunities. This seminar will emphasize the power of relationships and present educators with strategies to build and sustain partnerships that will support the social and emotional needs of diverse learners.

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate 

Culturally responsive practitioners employ a plethora of strategies to connect to the students, families, and communities they serve. This session will build on the concept that relationships matter and will equip educators with skills and resources to establish stronger partnerships between the school and home. Cross-cultural communication strategies including cultural discourse, cultural context, cultural nuances, and discourse will be explored.


Affirming Identities Professional Learning Topics

Creating Gender Inclusive Learning Environments

This session will provide an overview of important school practices to create gender inclusive spaces. Because of its prominence in everyday life, creating gender inclusive environments in which everyone is welcome is critical for the success of students. The training will center on defining terms and unpacking practices to create safe community spaces where all students are celebrated and have tools and resources that reflect their various experiences.

Equitable Supports for Differently Abled Students              

This session will build on the knowledge and understanding of intellectual and physical disabilities as they exist in education and Special Education environments. Specifically, conversations around identifying with a disability will be modelled and discussed so that those with neurotypical abilities approach this community equitably. Critical to this session will be an exploration of how a predominately racialized and able-bodied environment exercise their power and privilege for the advancement of this community. Participants will utilize self-reflection to analyze how values, experiences, and assumptions can influence practices for IDD identified students and school members.

Supporting Students with LGTBQ+ Identities

This session will provide vocabulary/terminology, the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, common misperceptions, and ways to be supportive of the LGBTQ students. Research shows that the presence of supportive educators can have a significant positive impact on LGBTQ students’ academic achievement, as well as on their psychological well-being and long-term educational aspirations. This session aims to empower educators to act in allyship with LGBTQ students.

Overcoming Language Barriers in a Classroom Setting

This session will discuss the challenges that ELL students and immigrants face when entering a classroom setting. Specifically, this session will address how to communicate and advocate most effectively with students so that their self esteem does not suffer, they feel engaged in learning outcomes, and feel welcome and included in classroom settings. This session will aim to emphasize how to enrich classroom environments for this quickly growing student population.

Supporting Racially and Ethnically Diverse Students

This session will examine race, ethnicity, and cultural diversity in education and analyze the ethnic and racial disparities that contribute to opportunity and achievement gaps in K-12 contexts. This session will empower educators to dismantle patterns of racial inequalities in their classrooms, and become advocates for racial justice.

Transforming Pedagogy through Intersectionality

This session will push educators to consider the simultaneous experience of social categories and how these experiences create and contribute to systems of inequality. This session will engage educators to consider intersectionality or the simultaneous experience of their students when developing curricula and in their teaching practices.

Racial Equity Professional Learning Topics

What's Race Got to Do With It?

This seminar will explore key concepts of equity with an emphasis on racial equity. A historical overview of race and education in the US and globally will be discussed and applied to the context of the school environment .Participants will begin to develop racial literacy and contemplate ways to address racial disparities.

Leading with an Antiracist Mindset

During this time, educational leaders are not only charged with promoting racial equity, but also dealing with the complexity of racism as a system of oppression while in the midst of a pandemic. Through critical reflection and courageous conversations, leaders will gain a better understanding of the role they play in disrupting racism in order to dismantle racial inequities and lead a more culturally responsive school community.

Power, Privilege, and Perspective

This seminar will expand race conversations to include facilitated discussions about power, privilege and white fragility. Participants will utilize self-reflection to analyze how values, experiences, assumptions, and environment influence student learning. Particular emphasis will beon understanding and valuing perspectives from a racial lens.

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