Culturally Responsive Teaching

  • “I have no Black students in any of my classes.” I was curious how that could be true given that over half the students in his school were Black.

    When I inquired about this, he said, “I don’t see race, so all my kids are the same to me.”

    I replied, “You may not want to acknowledge the reality of race in your classroom, but I can guarantee you that all of your Black students know you’re white.” I then shared my belief that race does not have to get in the way of our teaching, but when it is denied, it probably is in the way.  

    ~Gary Howard~

    Culturally Responsive Teaching

    The Amherst Central School District is involved in an initiative regarding the topic of Culturally Responsive Teaching.  Since the 2003-2004 school year hard work, research and planning has taken place to examine the particular struggles that African American children face in American schools and how those struggles impact their achievement.  A core group of district staff with representation from each of the four buildings gleaned some of the best information that they have discovered and developed a three day training to improve the experiences and educational outcomes of this particular group of students.  This training was piloted last March and refined based on the feedback that was received.  It is a goal of this initiative to involve all district staff in this training over time.

    Why this group of students over others? 

    Because this is a growing population of students in our district and district data reflects disproportionately high representation in Special Education, suspension, and drop-out numbers as well as disproportionately low representation in Honors and Advanced Placement classes.  This is also reflective of a national trend and dilemma that cannot be ignored.  There are many theories suggested as to why this is occurring and our work explores these, gives the participants an opportunity to self-reflect about their own lives, examine the history of the country, the census and the American Education system as well as offers practical strategies to professional staff to implement in their school with their students.

    Hopefully you will find some of the information available to you on this site helpful and informative.  Please share this knowledge with others to increase their depth of understanding regarding the impact of race and ethnicity on achievement. Thank you for your interest in the work of Culturally Responsive Teaching in the Amherst School District.