Through a generous donation to The William J. Watkins, Sr. Educational Institute, Inc. we have partnered with Southwest Academy Middle School in Baltimore County to provide seven teachers with our year long “Cultivating a Culturally Responsive Practice” teacher training. Our philosophy that the most important relationship as regards student success is that between the teacher and student. Principal Karen Barnes agrees with this philosophy and selected six of her most dedicated teachers to “cultivate” their practice. The teachers come from varying backgrounds and teach across the curriculum. We have a special educator that teaches math, three social studies teachers a science teacher and an AVID teacher in the cohort. After six intensive 2 hour introductory sessions in which they learned what culturally responsive teachers do and how they do it they have begun the process of developing their practice as culturally responsive teachers. The experience has been eye-opening for the teachers in providing them with new ways to look at their students and the interactions they have with them.  Throughout the remainder of the year teachers will meet with the site facilitator once per quarter as a cohort. During the cohort sessions they will continue training in specific strategies and techniques as their practice develops. The cohort meetings also provide the teachers with an opportunity to share their experiences with each other and to provide one another with support. They will also have individual site visits and consultations with the site facilitator throughout the year to gauge how their practice is developing and to provide feedback and support. The goal of the training is to improve student learning by increasing the effectiveness of the teachers in the cohort. Once the teachers have completed the full year of training they will be prepared to share what they experienced with other educators.

Next school year we are looking to expand our training to even more schools in the region. Our “Impact 3000” fundraising campaign helps to offset the cost of the training. Please consider making a donation today.