MTSD Equity Practices: Professional Development

  • With the goal of becoming a culturally competent district and to ensure equality in our schools and classrooms, it was apparent that all MTSD administrators and staff needed to engage in professional development in the realm of culturally responsive practices.

    With the desire to have professional development be more than a box to be checked off but rather to truly meet the needs of our students, parents/guardians and school community, it was apparent that the district needed to partner with a professional.

    Montgomery Township School District has been fortunate to begin this essential work with Dr. Robin Harden Daniels.

    Dr. Daniels is a former teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology and three graduate degrees, one in theology and two in educational leadership.  Dr. Daniels equity-based workshops feature culturally responsive instruction and strategies for improving school culture through restorative practices.

    Dr. Daniels, to date, has provided training for the MTSD Administrative team during the team’s Administrative Retreat in July and five districtwide sessions to all MTSD staff during the Staff-in-service days on September 2nd and September 5th.  In all of these training sessions Dr. Daniels has used her unique perspective, humor, and research to connect with the administrators and staff of MTSD. This early connection will most certainly allow for open discussion of issues such as race, class, and privilege and how these dynamics impact our schools and district.

    With Introduction to Culturally Responsive Practices: Culture and Race as the workshop’s title, below are the following points of focus that Dr. Daniels delved into with the MTSD administrators:

    • Defining Culturally Responsive Practices
    • Understanding Culture and Deep Cultural Dimensions
    • Exploring the Whiteness Hierarchy and the Beginnings of Privilege
    • Exploring the Seven Most Common Expressions of Classroom Bias
    • Introducing Color Bravery
    • "First Step" Strategies for becoming a Culturally Responsive Practitioner

    The next workshop that Dr. Daniels will provide to the district is entitled, Culturally Responsive Practices and Resolving Racial Conflict. This training is an extension of Culturally Responsive Practices: Culture and Race from September, and one that will assist all educators in learning concrete and specific strategies in managing microaggresive behaviors and culture and ethnic-based conflicts that often arise in peer-to-peer interactions.