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    The Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice


The Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice

The Vision of the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice is providing and supporting educators with an equity-based professional learning framework that ensures high quality teaching and learning experiences exist for all learners.

The Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice (CCPEP) is located in North County San Diego, CA as a collaborative partnership among the North County Professional Development Federation, California State University San Marcos, and Co-Founders, Delores and Randall Lindsey. The Purpose for the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice (CCPEP) is: 1. to provide opportunities for individuals as well as team members from school districts and related agencies to learn the Tools of Cultural Proficiency and how to apply them to personal practice and to exam schools’ and districts’ policies and practices;

  1. to provide opportunities for individuals as well as team members from school districts and related agencies to learn the Tools of Cultural Proficiency and how to apply them to personal practice and to exam schools’ and districts’ policies and practices;
  2. to prepare and support district Trainers for Culturally Proficient Practices for developing professional capital to sustain growth throughout the district;
  3. to develop a network of Trainers and a community of practice dedicated to access and equity and access for all students.

3-Phase Professional Certification Process The Center For Culturally Proficient Educational Practice provides professional learning for participants who wish to become Certified Training Associates for Cultural Proficiency. The content and processes for the training are presented in a 3-Phase format over 10 days (12-18 months). These customized learning experiences, created by Delores and Randall Lindsey and other Cultural Proficiency authors, are specifically designed learning strategies that guide participants through self-examination, analysis of practices, and investigation of organizational policies. Participants learn critical content, as well as presentation and facilitation skills for group development.

What is Cultural Proficiency? Cultural Proficiency is about being effective thinkers and educators in cross-cultural situations. Cultural Proficiency is about educating all students to high levels through knowing, valuing, and using their cultural backgrounds, languages, and learning styles within the context of our teaching. A central tenet of Cultural Proficiency holds that change is an inside-out process in which a person is, first and foremost, a student of his own assumptions. Initially, we must have the capability to recognize our own assumptions in order to retain those that facilitate culturally proficient actions and to change those assumptions that impede such actions. Similarly, educators as a community apply this inside-out process to examine school policies and practices that either impede or facilitate culturally proficient practices. This ability to examine one’s self and organization is fundamental to

interdependent thinking needed when addressing achievement gap issues. Cultural Proficiency provides a comprehensive, systemic structure for school leaders to discuss issues facing their schools. The Four Tools of CulturalProficiency provide educators with the means to assess and change one’s own values and behaviors and a school’s policies and practices in ways that better serve the needs of students and their communities. Cultural Proficiency challenges communities to use prevalent assessment tools to examine their current reality and establish desired outcomes for more students than ever before to achieve at levels higher than ever before—all students! Then, the community of educators uses the Tools of Cultural Proficiency to determine a path by which they will achieve those outcomes for all students.

The Framework for Equity and Access: The Four Tools of Cultural Proficiency

Cultural Proficiency is comprised of an interrelated set of four tools, when used authentically, provides one the opportunity to improve one’s own practice in service of others. The tools of Cultural Proficiency are not strategies or techniques. The tools provide you with the means by which to perform your professional responsibilities in a Culturally Proficient manner. Being culturally competent or proficient is exemplified by how one uses assessment data, delivers curriculum and instruction, interacts with parents and community members, or plans and uses professional development.

The tools of Cultural Proficiency – the guiding principles, the barriers, the continuum, and the essential elements – combine to provide you with a framework for analyzing your values and behaviors as well as your schools’ policies and practices.

  • Identifying the Barriers to Cultural Proficiency provides persons and their organizations with tools to overcoming resistance to change.
  • The Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency serve as an introduction to a person or organization to identify their core values as they relate to issues of diversity.
  • The Cultural Proficiency Continuum provides language to describe unhealthy and healthy values and behaviors of persons and policies and practices of organizations. In addition, the continuum can help you assess your current state and project your desired state. Movement along the Continuum represents a shift in thinking from holding the view of tolerating diversity to transformation for equity. This is not a subtle shift in worldview; it is paradigmatic.
  • The Five Essential Elements of Cultural Competence serve as standards by which one develops healthy individual values/behaviors and organizational policies/practices.

Overcoming Barriers to Cultural Proficiency

In the manner that the guiding principles provide a moral compass for culturally proficient actions, there are barriers to achieving culturally proficient actions. The barriers to Cultural Proficiency are

  • Resistance to change
  • Systemic oppression
  • Unawareness of need to adapt
  • A sense of entitlement.

These barriers are often manifested in statements such as, it is not me that needs to change. I have been a successful educator for years, these kids/parents just need to get a clue! Similarly, it is rare to find the person who doesn’t acknowledge that racism, ethnocentrism, sexism and heterosexism exists in our society but what they often fail to see is that when one group of people loses rights and privileges due to systemic oppression, those rights and privileges accrue to others in often unacknowledged or unrecognized ways. It is when one recognizes one’s entitlement that he or she has the ability to make choices that benefit the education of children and youth.

Most educational policy makers and educators when focusing on the achievement issues of non-dominant students often experience a conversation gap. The gap in the conversation, and often unrecognized and unacknowledged, is in educators not having the perspective to see roadblocks that have been, and are, placed in the way of members of non-dominant socio-economic, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, or language groups. This selective invisibility leads to a sense of privilege and entitlement for members of the dominant group. Whereas systems of oppression impose barriers for members of non-dominant groups, concomitant systems of privilege and entitlement impose barriers for members of the dominant group. The barriers erected by a sense of privilege and entitlement involve a skewed sense of reality that can impede one’s ability to pursue ethical and moral avenues in meeting the academic and social needs of non-dominant groups. The position of privilege often fosters educators voicing biased or ill-informed assumptions about parents from non-dominant groups. Typical of such assumptions are comments such

The position of privilege often fosters educators voicing biased or ill-informed assumptions about parents from non-dominant groups. Typical of such assumptions are comments such as Their parents won’t come to parent conferences because they don’t care about the education of their child. Why try to help them, they will just end up to be a gang banger, just like their dad! Why should I learn anything about their culture? This is our country, let them learn about us!

Educators who make comments like those above are in need of different lenses, tools and structures to understand their students and the barriers they face and the special learning needs they have in order to be successful in school. Educators must engage in intentional conversations about how parents and students who are different from them behave and learn. Cultural Proficiency is an approach for surfacing assumptions and values that undermine the success of some student groups and a lens for examining how we can include and honor the cultures and learning needs of all students in the educational process.

The Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency

The guiding principles provide a framework for the examination of the core values of schools and how espoused theory and theory in action differs when schools are undergoing academic self-study (Schein, 1989, Argyris, 1990). The guiding principles of Cultural Proficiency are:

  • Culture is a predominant force in shaping values, behaviors, and institutions.
  • People are served in varying degrees by the dominant culture
  • There is diversity within and between cultures and both are important
  • Every group has unique culturally-defined needs that must be respected
  • People have personal identities and group identities. The dignity of individuals is not guaranteed unless the dignity of their people is also preserved.
  • Each cultural group has unique cultural needs.
  • The best of both worlds enhances the capacity of all.
  • The family, as defined by each culture, is the primary system of support in the education of children. School systems must recognize that marginalized populations have to be at least bicultural and that this status creates a unique set of issues to which the system must be equipped to respond.

Inherent in cross-cultural interactions are dynamics that must be acknowledged, adjusted to, and accepted. In Nuri Robins, et al. (2006) the authors noted that understanding and acknowledging the principles and choosing to manifest them in your behavior are demonstrations of culturally proficient leadership. The choice you make to align your leadership actions with the principles of cultural proficiency communicates a strong message throughout your school’s community that you value diversity and fully expect that every individual will do the same. Indeed, the guiding principles are attitudinal benchmarks that enable you and others to assess progress toward acknowledging and valuing cultural differences, and while this assessment yields crucial information, it is insufficient by itself in provoking the development of culturally proficient behaviors.

The guiding principles provide a framework for how the diversity of students informs professional practice in responding to student learning needs. If your school or district has a mission, vision or beliefs statement that is a good place to see if the stated values in your school align with predominant behaviors in the school. Most likely you will encounter phrases such as all students, valuing diversity, 21st century education, or high tech skills. Do your behaviors align with those expressed values?

The Continuum of Cultural Proficiency

The first three points of the continuum focus on them as being problematic (i.e., Cultural Destructiveness, Cultural Incapacity, Cultural Blindness) and the next three point of the continuum focus on our practice (i.e., Cultural Pre-Competence, Cultural Competence, Cultural Proficiency). The first three points on the continuum may find us referring to our students as underperforming, while the next three points would find us referring to the ways in which we are under-serving our students and their communities (the inside-out approach).

The 6 points of the Continuum:

  • Cultural Destructiveness – seeking to eliminate vestiges of the cultures of others.
  • Cultural Incapacity – seeking to make the culture of others appear to be wrong.
  • Cultural Blindness – refusing to acknowledge the culture of others.
  • Cultural Precompetence – being aware of what one doesn’t know about working in diverse settings. Initial levels of awareness after which a person/organization can move in positive, constructive direction or they can falter, stop and possibly regress.
  • Cultural Competence – viewing one’s personal and organizational work as an interactive arrangement in which the educator enters into diverse settings in a manner that is additive to cultures that are different from the educator.
  • Cultural Proficiency – making the commitment to life-long learning for the purpose of being increasingly effective in serving the educational needs of cultural groups. Holding the vision of what can be and committing to assessments that serve as benchmarks on the road to student success.

The Cultural Proficiency Continuum

The Cultural Proficiency Continuum

The Essential Elements of Cultural Competence

The essential elements are the standards for culturally competent values, behaviors, policies and practices:

  • Assessing Cultural Knowledge – Being aware of what you know about others’ cultures, about how you react to others’ cultures, and what you need to do to be effective in cross-cultural situations.
  • Valuing Diversity – Making the effort to be inclusive of people whose viewpoints and experiences are different from yours and will enrich conversations decision-making, and problem solving.
  • Managing the Dynamics of Difference – Viewing conflict as a natural and normal process that has cultural contexts that can be understood and can be supportive in creative problem solving.
  • Adapting to Diversity – Having the will to learn about others and the ability to use others’ cultural experiences and backgrounds in educational settings.
  • Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge – Making learning about cultural groups and their experiences and perspectives as an integral part of your on-going learning.

The essential elements applied to educational leaders encompass these values and behaviors:

  • Assesses culture.  The culturally proficient educational leader is aware of his or her own culture and the effect it may have on the people in their work setting.  She learns about the culture of the school/district and the cultures of the parents/guardians and members of the larger community, and anticipates how they will interact, conflict and enhances one another.
  • Values diversity.  The culturally proficient educational leader welcomes a diverse group of parents and community members into the school setting and appreciates the challenges diversity brings.  He shares this appreciation with other fellow educators, parents/guardians, and community members, developing a learning community with each group.
  • Manages the dynamics of difference.  The culturally proficient educational leader recognizes that conflict is a normal and natural part of life.  She develops skills to manage conflict in a positive way.  She also helps fellow educators, parents/guardians and community members to understand that what appears to be clashes in personalities, may in fact be conflicts in culture.
  • Adapts to diversity.  The culturally proficient educational leader commits to the continuous learning that is necessary to deal with the issues caused by differences.  He enhances the substance and structure of the work done so that all work is informed by the guiding principles of cultural proficiency.
  • Institutionalizes cultural knowledge.  The culturally proficient educational leader works to influence the culture of her school/district so that its policies and practices are informed by the guiding principles of cultural proficiency.  She also takes advantage of teachable moments to share cultural knowledge about her colleagues, their supervisors, the parents/guardians, and the communities from which they come.  She creates opportunities for these groups to learn about one another and to engage in ways that honor who they are, and challenge them to be more.
    Adapted from Culturally Proficient Inquiry: A Lens for Identifying and Examining Educational Gaps, (2008). Randall B. Lindsey, Stephanie Graham, R. Chris Westphal Jr., & Cynthia Jew, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Who Are We?

Dr. Delores B. Lindsey
Dr. Delores B. LindseyRetired as Associate Professor at Cal State, San Marcos
Dr. Delores continues to serve as guest lecturer and education consultant. Prior to coming to the university she served as a middle grades and high school teacher, assistant principal, principal, and county office of education administrator. Dr. Lindsey’s primary area of research is studying, creating, and sustaining Culturally Proficient teaching and learning environments. Using the lens of Cultural Proficiency, Dr. Lindsey helps educational leaders examine their policies and practices, as well as their individual beliefs and values about cross-cultural communication. Her message to her audiences focuses on socially just educational practices and diversity as assets to be nurtured. She facilitates educators to develop their own inquiry and action research. Her favorite reflective question is: Are we who we say we are?
Dr. Randall B. Lindsey
Dr. Randall B. LindseyEmeritus Professor at California State University, Los Angeles
He has served as a teacher, an administrator, executive director of a non-profit corporation, as Interim Dean at California Lutheran University, as Distinguished Educator in Residence at Pepperdine University, and as Chair of the Education Department at the University of Redlands. Prior to that he served for seventeen years at California State University, Los Angeles in the Division of Administration and Counseling. Randy serves as a consultant and facilitator on issues related to diversity and equity, as well as on topics of leadership, problem solving, long range planning, and conflict resolution. Additionally, he publishes regularly and makes presentations to professional organizations. He has co-authored numerous books on Cultural Proficiency and the role of equity and access for educating all students. Randy is recipient of 2016 Living Legend Award from the National Council Professors of Educational Administration.
Dr. Raymond D. Terrell
Dr. Raymond D. TerrellEmeritus Professor, School of Education Health & Society, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
He also served as a professor of Educational Administration and Dean of The School of Education at California State University, Los Angeles. He began his career as a public school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent in the Princeton City School District in Ohio. He has more than 40 years of professional experience with diversity and equity issues in urban and suburban school districts. Ray lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife Eloise. They are both enjoying reading, writing, traveling, and spoiling adopted grandchildren. Ray has co-authored numerous Cultural Proficiency books. He continues to work with schools and districts throughout the U.S and Canada.
Dr. Brenda CampbellJones
Dr. Brenda CampbellJonesPresident of CampbellJones & Associates
Dr. CampbellJones provides professional learning and technical assistance to school districts throughout the United States and Canada. She has served as a teacher, an elementary principal, an award winning middle school principal, an area superintendent, and college professor. Through the lens of Cultural Proficiency, she coaches and facilitates the change process in school districts that are making systemic changes for student academic and social achievement. She is co-author of the best-selling book The Cultural Proficiency Journey: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change. Her forthcoming book is entitled Mindful Conversations to Move Beyond Race, Class, and Culture.
Dr. Franklin CampbellJones
Dr. Franklin CampbellJonesVice President of CampbellJones & Associates
As a facilitator of organization learning and cultural diversity, he has inspired audiences in Thailand, The People’s Republic of China, Guam, Canada and, The Netherlands. Franklin works closely with schools and educational systems throughout the United States and Canada as they authentically engage to provide academic and social needs of all students. Dr. CampbellJones has served as a high school social science and reading teacher, school administrator, district office director, state director for the California School Leadership Academy, and university professor. Franklin’s published books include The Culturally Proficient School: An Implementation Guide for School Leaders, The Cultural Proficiency Journey: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change, and Journey of Spirit, Walk of Faith: Our Relationship with God. His forthcoming book is entitled Mindful Conversations to Move Beyond Race, Class, and Culture.
Dr. Patricia Stall
Dr. Patricia StallDirector of the School of Education at California State University, San Marcos
Throughout her 38-year career has maintained a steadfast commitment to social justice and equity. Her research involves student and leadership issues surrounding second language learners, American Indian students, At-Risk students, and Educator Preparation. Her experience includes teaching high school and developing and administering on-site undergraduate and graduate degree programs in teacher education for the University of New Mexico in remote and rural locations on the Navajo and Zuni Reservations. At CSUSM, she is a professor of literacy. She has been the Principal Investigator for U.S. Department of Education grants and several state and privately funded grans. Her PhD is in Multicultural Childhood Education from the University of New Mexico. She also has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and another Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Brenda Hall
Brenda HallDirector of the North County Professional Development Federation (NCPDF)
This organization is a 25-year-old consortium that includes 27 school districts, 5 charter organizations, 2 community colleges and 2 universities. Previously, Brenda served as a teacher and then a Curriculum Coordinator in the Vista School District. In addition, she worked for the San Diego County Office of Education as an AVID Coordinator supporting AVID programs throughout the region. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of San Diego and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Brenda continues to be an advocate of improving the experience for all learners and addressing access and equity challenges in meaningful ways.
Dr. Trudy T. Arriaga
Dr. Trudy T. ArriagaFirst Female Superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District
Her journey toward the role of superintendent included trilingual paraeducator, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director. She was honored to publish her first book with Corwin, Opening Doors: An Implementation Template for Cultural Proficiency with her esteemed colleague, Dr. Randy B. Lindsey.
Dr. Arriaga has focused her life work on the fundamental belief that the educational system has tremendous capability and responsibility to open doors for all students. Her leadership has focused on core values that ensure equity, access and opportunity for every child and their family. She has worked extensively with school districts and educational organizations throughout the United States as a presenter, professional development facilitator and keynote speaker as they examine their actions with a culturally proficient lens to ensure their practices reflect the stated values of the organization. Trudy is the recipient of numerous awards including the State ACSA Marcus Foster Award, CABE Bilingual Administrator of the Year and most recently the 2017 State ACSA Professor of the Year. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Education Leadership Graduate Program as Distinguished Educator in Residence at Cal Lutheran University. She and her husband, Raymundo are enjoying this grand chapter in life as grandparents to Rayo Mana and Sofia Anuhea.
Dr. Diana Stephens
Dr. Diana StephensRetired Associate Professor at California Lutheran University
Dr. Diana maintains a consulting practice in education focused on equity, access and cultural inclusion. She is the co-author of Culturally Proficient Collaboration: Use and Misuse of School Counselors. Dr. Stephen’s educational achievements include a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems, Master’s Degree in Education with credential in School Counseling, Master’s Degree in Human Development, and Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Throughout her careers in education and a non-profit counseling agency, she has served as a teacher, counselor, supervisor, and administrator. Diana is guided by the belief that understanding and honoring the cultural heritage of self and others is essential in achieving personal and professional success. She facilitates culturally reflective conversations between and among educational personnel as a transformative pathway to equity and access for every student.