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Cultural Proficiency


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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition Foreword to the Third Edition Foreword to the Second Edition Foreword to the First Edition Acknowledgments About the Authors PART I. UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL PROFICIENCY 1. Cultural Proficiency Cultural Proficiency: An Inside-Out Approach to Difference The Four Tools A Historical Context Why Would I or My School Want to Engage? Learning and Educating Effectively Living in a Global Community Participating in the Community Culturally Proficient Leadership: Diversity "Is" Resources for Developing Culturally Proficient Leaders Read the Text First Cultural Proficiency Books' Essential Questions Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 2. A Cultural and Historical Context for Our Unfolding Democracy An Inside-Out Approach What It Takes Culture Is . . . What Happened to Race? The Legacy of Segregation and Exclusion A History of Caste in the United States Labels for Historically Oppressed People From Segregation to Cultural Proficiency Culture and History Provide Perspective Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 3. Leadership for Today's Schools Our Journey With Culturally Proficient Leaders Culturally Proficient Leadership: Exploring Deeply Held Values for Equity Shared Vision Long-Term, Systemic Change: Finding Leverage Points for Acti Limitations of Local School Change Initiatives Inside-Out Approach to Change: Why Leaders Ask Why? Cultural Proficiency as a Frame for Change Reflection Culturally Proficient Leadership Is Transformative Continuum as a Guide: Creating Initial Awareness Is Cultural Precompetence Tools for Change Formal and Nonformal Leaders Reflection Culturally Proficient Leaders Focus on Inequities Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 4. Framing Your Work With the Tools of Cultural Proficiency The Important First Step: Inside-Out Change Cultural Proficiency Conceptual Framework The Four Tools of Cultural Proficiency Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions PART II. USING THE TOOLS OF CULTURAL PROFICIENCY 5. The Tool: Overcoming Barriers Barriers to Cultural Proficiency This Chapter Is for Everyone Caveat: Systemic Oppression Caveat: Privilege and Entitlement Caveat: Unawareness of the Need to Adapt Changing Educational Practices Culturally Proficient Educators Overcoming Resistance Very Good News Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 6. The Tool: The Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency Cultural Proficiency as an Expression of Values Principle: Culture Is Ever Present Principle: People Are Served in Varying Degrees by the Dominant Culture Principle: People Have Group Identities and Personal Identities Principle: Diversity Within Cultures Is Important Principle: Each Group Has Unique Cultural Needs That Must Be Respected Principle: The Family, as Defined by Each Culture, Is the Primary System of Support in the Education of Children Principle: People Who Are Not a Part of the Dominant Culture Have to Be at Least Bicultural Principle: Inherent in Cross-Cultural Interactions Are Social and Communication Dynamics That Must Be Acknowledged, Adjusted to, and Accepted Principle: The School System Must Incorporate Cultural Knowledge Into Practice and Policymaking Make It Count Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 7. The Tool: The Cultural Proficiency Continuum Macro- and Microaggressions The Continuum Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 8. The Tool: The Essential Elements The Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency Finding Leverage for School Leadership Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions PART III. MAKING THE COMMITMENT TO CULTURAL PROFICIENCY 9. Commit to Action So Where Do You Start? You Are Here Action Through Transformative Collaborative Inquiry Design the Inquiry Going Deeper: Reflection Going Deeper: Dialogic Questions 10. A Note to Those Preparing School Leaders Preamble Introduction Historical Overview Legacy in Part Transformative Leadership Is Inclusive Leadership Systemic Leadership and Tools of Cultural Proficiency Achievement Gaps, Disproportionality, and Our Preparation Programs Call to Action References Resources Introduction to Learning Strategies Do Your Own Work Believe It Be Able to Work Without the Script Set the Tone Take Time to Process Use Small Groups Work in Teams Develop Your Own Style Be Prepared for Trouble Have Fun Resource A: Understanding Diversity Learning Strategy 1: Telling Your Stories Learning Strategy 2: Diversity in Your Life Learning Strategy 3: Stand Up Learning Strategy 4: Line Up Resource B: Getting to Know Myself Learning Strategy 1: Journaling Learning Strategy 2: Diversity Lifeline Learning Strategy 3: Name Five Things Learning Strategy 4: Who Are You? Learning Strategy 5: Who Am I? Learning Strategy 6: Cultural Portrait Learning Strategy 7: Identities Learning Strategy 8: Group Stereotypes Learning Strategy 9: The Process of Personal Change Learning Strategy 10: Seven Dynamics of Change Learning Strategy 11: Paradigms Learning Strategy 12: Strength Bombardment Resource C: Getting to Know Your Colleagues and Your Organization Learning Strategy 1: Introductory Grid Learning Strategy 2: Cultural Perceptions Learning Strategy 3: What's in a Name? Learning Strategy 4: Totems or Crests Learning Strategy 5: Family Portrait Learning Strategy 6: Group Stereotypes Learning Strategy 7: Circle of History Learning Strategy 8: Storytelling Learning Strategy 9: Voices That Resonate Learning Strategy 10: Needs Assessment Resource D: Understanding Power and Privilege Learning Strategy 1: Barriers to Cultural Proficiency Learning Strategy 2: Describe a Culturally Incompetent Organization Learning Strategy 3: A Survey of Privilege and Entitlement Learning Strategy 4: Listening and Hearing Learning Strategy 5: Seven-Minute Day Resource E: Going Deeper With the Principles Learning Strategy 1: Guiding Principles Discussion Starters Learning Strategy 2: Family Values Learning Strategy 3: My Work Values Learning Strategy 4: Examining Your Organizational Values Resource F: Going Deeper With the Continuum Learning Strategy 1: Cultural Proficiency Continuum Learning Strategy 2: Exploring Behaviors Along the Continuum Resource G: Going Deeper With the Essential Elements Learning Strategy 1: Using the Essential Elements Learning Strategy 2: Essential Elements of Culturally Proficient Leaders Learning Strategy 3: Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Resource H: Book Study Guide Resource I: Cultural Proficiency Books' Essential Questions Suggested Foundational Readings References Index

About the Author

Randall B. Lindsey is Emeritus 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. All of Randy's experiences have been in working with diverse populations and his area of study is the behavior of white people in multicultural settings. His Ph.D. is in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University, his Master of Arts in Teaching is in History Education from the University of Illinois, and his B.S. in Social Science Education is from Western Illinois University. He has served as a junior high school and high school teacher and as an administrator in charge of school desegregation efforts. At Cal State, L.A. he served as Chair of the Division of Administration and Counseling and as Director of the Regional Assistance Centers for Educational Equity, a regional race desegregation assistance center. With co-authors he has written several books and articles on Cultural Proficiency. Most recent publication is The Cultural Proficiency Manifesto: Finding Clarity Amidst the Noise. Kikanza Nuri-Robins helps people to close the gap between what they say they are and what they actually do. Whether she is in a corporate boardroom, the fireside room of a retreat center, or a convention center auditorium, Kikanza uses her skills and insights to help people and organizations that are in transition - or ought to be. She shares her observations and recommendations with clarity and candor, while gently encouraging them to face the difficult situations that challenge their skill sets and their values. She leads people to this growing edge with unswerving focus, an understanding heart, and laughter that rises from the seat of her soul. Since 1978, Kikanza has worked as an organizational development consultant in a variety of settings includ ing education, health care, criminal justice, and religion, focusing on leadership development, change management, and cultural proficiency. Her clients range from school districts, to university faculty, to government offices and non-profit organizations. The connecting thread is her passion for working with people who want to making a difference for others. Kikanza studied at Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is the author of many articles and five books, including: Cultural Proficiency and Culturally Proficient Responses to the LGBT Communities. Kikanza lives in Los Angeles where she spends her discretionary time as a textile artist. Raymond D. Terrell is a Professor Emeritus. He has served as a high school and junior high school English teacher, an elementary school principal, and an assistant superintendent in public schools in Ohio. He spent one year as a faculty member at Texas A&M University in the Department of Educational Administration. He spent 19 years at California State University, 14 years in the Department of Educational Administration, and for 5 years he was the Dean of the School of Education. He then served for three years as an elementary principal at Jefferson Elementary School in Hamilton, Ohio. Ray then joined the faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where he served as a professor in the Educational Leadership Department, Associate Dean for the College of Education Health and Society and as Chair of the Teacher Education Department. Ray has 50 years of professional experience with diversity and equity issues. He has served school districts in California, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Ray writes about issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Ray lives in Springfield Township, Ohio with his wife Eloise. They have two adult children, Dina and William. Delores B. Lindsey, Ph.D., retired as Assistant Professor of Educational Administration, at California State University, San Marcos. However, she has not retired from the educational profession. 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. Delores' message to her audiences focuses on socially just educational practices and diversity as assets to be nurtured. Dr. Lindsey coaches educators to develop their own inquiry and action research. Her favorite reflective questions are: Who are we? and Are we who we say we are? She serves schools, districts, and county offices as an Adaptive Schools Training Associate, a Cognitive Coach Training Associate, and a consultant to develop culturally proficient educators and schools. Her recent publications include A Culturally Proficient response to the common core: Ensuring equity through professional learning (2015, Lindsey, Kearney, Estrada, & Lindsey); and Culturally Proficient inclusive schools: All means all! (2018, Lindsey, Thousand, Jew & Piowlski).


"The 4th edition of Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders provides a structure for educators to reflect on their leadership, the students, faculty, and community they serve, and to consider whether their practices create a school environment where all students achieve and each stakeholder feels valued. With updated ideas, learning strategies, and case studies, Randall, Kikanza, Raymond, and Delores masterfully guide readers in the process of self-reflection and the necessity for school leaders to be culturally proficient leaders. This manual is a must read for all leaders in education!"

-- Toby W. Heusser, Equity Teacher Specialist, and Eric Louers Phillips, Supervisor Accelerating Achievement & Equity
"This book is a riveting and unparalleled resource for all educational merchants of hope. Cultural proficiency is the conduit of fortified relationships built to garner the greatest awareness of our individual and collective differences and similarities. The insights, learning strategies, and professional development structures in this edition illuminate a path for all leaders to successfully commit to the journey of being equity champions!" -- Dr. Erick E. Witherspoon, National Director of Equity Professional Development Services
"There is no greater honor than to have one's professional work become the inspiration for a new way of thinking and transformative literature and action that changes the world for schools and the children and youth they serve. I am grateful that the ideas first presented in 1989 have been so skillfully brought to scale by the authors of Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders, 4th Edition." -- Dr. Terry L. Cross, MSW, Founder and Senior Advisor
"One of the most relevant books that provide not only the foundation for culturally proficient leadership but also, the tools and resources to assist our educational leadership candidates on an inside-out reflective journey. The case stories, provide appropriate learning context for dialogue on confronting individual and institutional biases and assumptions, analysis for diversity and inclusion, and action planning for altering educational policies and practices." -- Dr. Becky G. Sumbera
"The handbook offers a well-thought out and carefully structured program that can alter the world-view of participants and tilt them toward understanding what it means to become a truly inclusive society. It provides tools for specific skills training so that each person may develop competent interactions within their own social world. I am pleased to see this wonderful handbook entering into its fourth iteration, updated in ways that maintain and move the ever-essential mission of training culturally proficient individuals." -- Dr. Michele Daniel, Jungian Analyst

"Cultural Proficiency is an invaluable resource to anyone working to create equity and inclusion in the world. Rather than just theory, this book is deeply practical and can be immediately applied to your life and profession. Now more than ever, this updated edition is a transformative resource for everyone."

-- Tom Earl, Social Justice Consultant, Founder
"Cultural Proficiency offers effective tools for those who truly want to achieve what public education envisions: an authentically democratic society. There are often 'two schools' within on high achieving school: one for the dominant culture and one for others. Nuri-Robins and Lindsey have a solution for well-intentioned school districts. I will give this book to the many good people I know who serve on our local elected school boards." -- Abby Arnold, Non-profit Consultant
"The book is an invaluable and engaging resource for those involved in the transformative work of cultural proficiency. While aimed at school leadership, the lessons are useful for a variety of institutions. The Third Edition was so helpful to me in my work with legal education; I look forward to implementing all of the resources in the Fourth Edition!" -- Anastasia Boles, Law Professor, University of Arkansas Little Rock

"Cultural Proficiency - A Manual for School Leaders has been instrumental in equipping our organization with the necessary tools and skills needed to serve our diverse population. This manual is a must-read for anyone wishing to provide culturally relevant services to participants from various cultures. The lessons learned by our staff have been invaluable!"

-- Donna Derden, Director of Operations and Compliance
"Striving to be a culturally proficient institution requires that leaders have an unwavering commitment to learn about and from others. This manual sets the stage for this important work and is an invaluable resource for anyone who is committed to fostering work and learning environments that are grounded in respect, inclusion, and diversity." -- Jane Kirschling, Dean and Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing

"Informed by the latest literature and grounded in their ongoing work in the real world, the authors bring Cultural Proficiency right up to date and right into our current controversies. Our schools need this book on every level: from K-5 to college and from classroom to boardroom. Having worked toward diversity in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary school settings, I can tell you that all of them need this book."

-- Franz Metcalf, Ph. D, California State University, Los Angeles
"As institutions and organizations become more socially and culturally diverse, leaders will be called to foster inclusive communities in which people can effectively work together. This edition of the Manual for Cultural Proficiency is a must read for leaders who are interested in deepening their understanding of cultural proficiency and learning about the policies, practices and internal structures required to build and maintain healthy organizational cultures. The manual provides a framework and set of tools that can be used in various organizational contexts and applied to both individual behavior and organizational practices. If you care about cultural proficiency, inclusive environments and diversity, you need this manual. Read it, refer to it often and commit to application of its strategies. Your organization will be better for it." -- Angel Roberson Daniels, Vice President, The Angell Foundation
"These are universal lessons: the barriers, guiding principles, continuum of responses, and essential elements of Cultural Proficiency apply to human service non-profits as well as they do in schools. The authors articulate roles in ending oppression for both the dominant and dominated groups, lay out a clear road-map through the predictable and consistently challenging change process, and provide specific activities that I can use as a facilitator to help groups explore and address these important topics. Cultural Proficiency brings together history, research, and activities that help me continue to do my own work as a white consultant to support and advance racial justice."
-- Elizabeth Sadlon, President, Sadlon & Associates, Inc.

"Cultural Proficiency provides me with the tools to face conflict head on and not stray from my intention of creating and nurturing school spaces that are safe, welcoming and inclusive for students no matter their background, level of ability or way of viewing and experiencing the world. Daily I actively engage with the tools of cultural proficiency. With an understanding of the inside-out approach to becoming a cultural proficient being I walk through the world with knowledge of the lens developed through my background, values, biases and beliefs. As I make decisions that impact students and support the professional learning of educators in my system, I reflect on the ethical tension between the barriers to and principles of cultural proficiency. It is through this critical self-reflection that I am able to prepare our staff to proactively build community and mentally prepare to address conflict when it interrupts the safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments students deserve."

-- Angela Ward, Race Equity Leader, Austin Independent School District
"This book is designed as a manual for school leaders. However, I have not found a better resource for developing culturally proficient leadership and organizations in any sector. The manual is rich with examples, tools and resources that educate and prepare formal or informal leaders to challenge counter-productive assumptions and biases; acknowledge their role in perpetuating systems of privilege; promote learning and growth from differences; create an inclusive work environment; meet the needs of diverse clientele; and work together in a healthy, productive way. This guide brings culturally naive or destructive beliefs to light, creating immensely more aware and effective leaders." -- Adena Wright Williams, Organization Development Consultant , CEO
"This manual is needed now more than ever. When differences are more disparaged, when fears and anxieties are stoked by public haters, when simplistic solutions to social and political problems are founded on ignorance and dreams of uniformity, educators and policy makers need a manual such as this: practical, multi-faceted, broad in scope, and engaging. Having used it, I know it facilitates meaningful conversation, and fosters self-discovery, mutual understanding, and collective problem solving. A fourth edition of this work testifies to its enduring value." -- Sidney Morrison, Leadership Coach
"It is hard to believe that our esteemed authors, Lindsey, Robbins, and Terrell, are publishing their 4th edition of what I call the bible for all school administrators: Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders. Just like the bible, this manual has stood the test of time and remains just as apropos as it did when it was first published in 1999. I remember picking up the original black book when I first started in administration in 1999 and the contents of the book completely changed my way of thinking. It has always served as the compass towards improving education opportunities and educating students of color. This manual, this Holy Grail if you will, is a must-have for every administrator." -- Dr. Roberto Nunez, Principal
"Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders provides a framework for aspiring school leaders to practice culturally proficient leadership. The activities, tools and strategies in this book support both leadership faculty and students to move away from prevailing 'one size fits all' models of school leadership to one of social justice leadership. -- Noni Mendoza-Reis, Professor of Educational Leadership

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