Leading a Diverse School Community

It is important that educational leaders acknowledge the growing development of diverse school communities. As the U.S. becomes more diverse, schools must keep pace.

Inclusion Improves Education

Traditionally, K-12 curricula and pedagogy have primarily addressed the cultural backgrounds of middle- and upper-class white students. However, student populations today are diversifying, so this approach no longer serves the needs of all students. This causes a distinct achievement gap between children from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Students who see their cultural backgrounds appreciated and celebrated will naturally engage learning more actively.

Culturally Competency Is Crucial

Growing diversity has created an immediate need for administrators, teacher leaders and teachers to develop cultural competency among staff members and students. Developing new approaches to differentiated instruction and culturally responsive teaching is crucial to reaching this goal. Utilizing new technologies to facilitate collaborative classrooms wherein students interact with others from all over the world is also vital.

In addition to building a global community, fostering strong relationships with local communities is very important. School systems should include parents in their children’s education. Helping parents understand that teachers and administrators value the students’ various cultures can build strong ties between the classroom and the home.

By working toward a master’s degree in educational administration, aspiring educators can learn to facilitate diverse school communities, which will lead to improvements in instruction, learning and achievement.

Color-Blindness Misses the Mark

When school systems started becoming more diverse, many educators adopted a color-blind model, avoiding issues of race in the classroom and — perhaps unintentionally — perpetuating outdated culture-based content. Modern educators are overturning this model in favor of celebrating the diversity of their student bodies and promoting cross-cultural understanding. Fostering cultural competency is an integral aspect of building diverse school communities.

The Differentiated, Culturally Responsive and Collaborative Classroom

So what does this new teaching model look like? By understanding the learning styles of students from different backgrounds, teachers can tailor their instruction to each student’s needs. They can incorporate the cultural heritage of those students into class content, promoting engagement through culturally relevant language and motivation.

The Diverse School Community in Local Context

Schools do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they include many elements of the local community — people, cultures, organizations, resources, etc. A strong school community incorporates all of these elements, to create a diverse educational environment that values parents and community organizations.

Learning how to nurture diverse school communities is an essential responsibility of the modern educator, whether in the classroom or behind the administrative desk. Candidates for a master’s degree in educational administration can learn how to promote cultural competency, culturally responsive and differentiated teaching, and beneficial community relationships — both local and global — to give students from all backgrounds an equal chance to succeed in school and beyond.

Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Educational Administration program.


Sources:

ASCD: As Diversity Grows, So Must We

Chalkbeat: As America’s students grow more diverse, a leading researcher explains how schools can adapt


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