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Introducing Cultural Proficiency

The sessions in this strand focus on one or all of the tools of Cultural Proficiency: Barriers, Continuum, Essential Elements, and Guiding Principles. These sessions are targeted towards participants who are discovering what cultural proficiency is or considering how it might be useful in their work.

Principles: The Guiding Principles are the values that serve as the foundation of cultural proficiency. They inform practices that move individuals and organizations along the path toward cultural proficiency. In these sessions participants will learn what those principles are and begin to connect them to their practice.

Barriers: Four things create Barriers to Culturally Proficient Practice: Unawareness of the Need to Adapt, Resistance to Change, A Sense of Entitlement, and Systems of Privilege and Oppression. These sessions will unpack the barriers and provide strategies for overcoming them.

Continuum: The Cultural Proficiency Continuum provides language for describing situations and events that range from Cultural Destruction to Cultural Proficiency. These sessions will help the learner to identify both healthy and inappropriate values, policies and practices.

Elements: The Five Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency provide the standards for planning, implementing and evaluating one’s work. The essential elements provide the guidelines for taking one’s work to a deep and meaningful place on the cultural proficiency journey. These sessions will focus on the five elements: Assessing Culture, Valuing Diversity, Managing the Dynamics of Difference, Adapting to Diversity, and Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge.

Going Deeper with Cultural Proficiency

The sessions in this strand provide opportunities for participants to move from understanding what cultural proficiency is to experiencing how cultural proficiency can be the impetus and guiding energy for personal and organizational change. Led by Cultural Proficiency content experts, sessions in this strand will identify and discuss the most important messages of the cultural proficiency framework and dig deeper into the four tools of cultural proficiency. Sessions will  feature advanced, more in‐depth subject matter and emphasize interaction and the exchange of information among the session participants. 

Voices from the Field

Cultural Proficiency is a model that is used by professionals in many fields in the United States and Canada.  These sessions are led by practitioners who have been actively using the cultural proficiency framework, research, and/or tools in their schools or organizations. These presentations may be given by groups from schools or individuals and will involve sharing their cultural proficiency journey they have undertaken thus far. In these sessions, participants will receive examples, models, and pragmatic suggestions from the presenters.

Research & Inquiry

This is a lecture‐style presentation given by researchers. Participants may ask questions and make comments at the end of the presentation. Each session must have a research or policy focus related to Cultural Proficiency and/or equity and access. Sessions should include a description of the conceptual or theoretical perspective, the research question(s) and design, data collection techniques and analyses, and a summary of findings. Action Research as a methodology is also encouraged. Discussions can be facilitated to allow early feedback on the presenter’s research, prompt a conversation around critical issues in education, or begin to frame new research directions.