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A Culturally Proficient Response to LGBT Communities

A Culturally Proficient Response to LGBT Communities
A Guide for Educators

Foreword by Timothy Kaltenecker

June 2013 | 184 pages | Corwin

An introspective response with LGBT communities for positive change

A Culturally Proficient Response to LGBT Communities is a guide for educators to collaboratively combat issues of discrimination, inequity, and bullying through the review of current policies, practices, and deeply held assumptions about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered (LGBT) communities. This inside-out approach carries readers through a personal journey of reflection to action by using the Tools of Cultural Proficiency to examine their values, beliefs, and assumptions about how LGBT communities are served educationally. 

 Creating safe and welcoming schools includes both setting effective and appropriate policies and the inside-out analyses of one’s own beliefs and values. Resulting cultural proficiencies, steeped in self-reflection, boost empathy and improve learning environments. On this simple, powerful premise, readers will find:

  • Inside-out growth through personal stories and case-studies
  • Reflection through activities and prompts appropriate for individuals and teams
  • Insight into current responses to bullying

Using this first step for positive systemic change, school leaders can elevate understanding and propel schools toward safe and diverse-friendly environments.

"This book provides essential tools for educators who want to make schools safe and welcoming for all students.  I could not put this book down. In my nearly 25 years of education I have not come across a resource that handles the needs of LGBT students as sensitively and supportively as these authors have using the tools of Cultural Proficiency."
—Gunn Marie Hansen, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Orange Unified School District, CA

Foreword by Timothy Kaltenecker
About the Authors
I. Introduction--Background, Challenges, and Opportunity
1. Setting the Context
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

2. The Tools of Cultural Proficiency
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

3. Equality and Equity Are Both Important, Just Not the Same
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

4. Understanding Our History Helps Shape Our Future
Getting Centered

Going Deeper

II. Westfield Unified School District
5. Creating Safe Space: Moving From Compliance to Advocacy
6. Assessing Cultural Knowledge
Getting Centered

Valuing Diversity

Westfield Unified School District Case Story

Going Deeper

7. Valuing Diversity
Getting Centered

Valuing Diversity

Westfield Unified School District Case Story

Going Deeper

8. Managing the Dynamics of Difference
Getting Centered

Managing the Dynamics of Difference

Westfield Unified School District Case Story

Going Deeper

9. Adapting to Diversity
Getting Centered

Adapting to Diversity

Westfield Unified School District Case Story

Going Deeper

10. Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge--You, Your School, and Your Community
Getting Centered

Institutionalizing Cultural Knowledge

Professional Learning for General Educators

Going Deeper

III. Next Steps
11. Moving From Bystander to Ally
Why We Do This Work
Resource A1 – Book Study Guide

Resource A2 – The Apps of Cultural Proficiency

Resource B – Quick Glossary

Resource C1 – Sexual Orientation Questionnaire

Resource C2 – Unpacking the Knapsack of Sexual Orientation Privilege

Resource D – Community Resources

Resource E - Cultural Proficiency Books’ Essential Questions

Cultural Proficiency Books Matrix

"A Culturally Proficient Response to LGBT Communities is one of the most authentic books I have ever read on how to be more inclusive and equitable to the LGBT school community. The reflection, dialogue, and going deeper sections provide educators with the opportunity to do the inside-outside work necessary to be a culturally proficient educator inclusive of LGBT colleagues, students, and parents/community members.  This book contains numerous practical applications written in the context of the cultural proficiency framework, guiding principles, tools, and continuum that make it immediately applicable and user friendly for schools."

Tracey DuEst, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant
Cincinnati, OH

"With the goal of genuine inclusion and equity for the LGBTQ community, this is a timely and superbly written book for educational leaders striving to support personal transformation and social change in their schools and beyond."

Chris Brown, Assistant Professor
Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada

"Culturally proficient persons are urgently needed who will take the initiative to change prejudicial beliefs and educational practices, biased interactions, discrimination, or bullying directed toward anyone in the LGBT or broader community.  This text enhances the critical reflection, will, and skills needed to help make cultural democracy a reality for all."

John Robert Browne II, Education Consultant
San Diego, CA

"Cultural competence as a construct requires a commitment to address more than race, ethnicity, gender, disability and socioeconomics. LGBTQ students are often bullied or excluded, are statistically over-represented among teen suicides, and have lower graduation rates overall. Because of fear, shame, and peer pressure, they often suffer in silence.  The needs of these students are often overlooked because educators are unaware, uncomfortable, or poorly informed.  The culturally competent school is proactive in its awareness of the needs of these students, its willingness to intervene, and its skills in working with LGBTQ issues."

Nicelma King, Youth and Family Development Specialist
University of California, Davis

"LGBT students want to be respected and understood as individuals; not just as a member of a demographic group or other impersonal category. Our schools and districts should be a safe, healthy, secure and inclusive environment for all employees and students. We need to ensure that there is a teacher in every classroom who cares that ALL students are treated with respect."

Jeff Chancer, Superintendent
Oxnard School District, CA

"This book provides essential tools for educators who want to make schools safe and welcoming for all students.  Utilizing the conceptual framework of Cultural Proficiency, the authors expertly discuss a case analysis and practical example of one school district delving into providing equity and inclusion for their LGBT community.  Throughout the book there are discussion sections and personal reflection opportunities to engage educators in dialogue about school responses to LGBT students - including bullying, adult perceptions, engaging bystanders, and providing resources.  The glossary of terms that relate to LGBT communities is also exceptionally helpful in framing conversations and creating an understanding of this important topic for educators.  I could not put this book down; in my nearly 25 years of education I have not come across a resource that handles the needs of LGBT students as sensitively and supportively as these authors have using the tools of Cultural Proficiency."

Gunn Marie Hansen, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Orange Unified School District, CA

"The authors of this text apply their proven expertise of the deeply relational notions of Cultural Proficiency to the needs of school children marginalized by homophobia and heterosexism. Discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity are only rarely and controversially included in educational discourse, even while students such as Zac—quoted in the book’s introduction—notes that, 'I did not feel safe in my own school, a place where I am supposed to be able to be myself and learn who I am.' In this text, the authors make it absolutely clear that school is the place for addressing issues of equity and for advancing a more generous and accepting society. Most of us have seen messages from the It Gets Better campaign, a project designed to bring attention and commitment to providing hope for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and other bullied human beings. In this inspiring text the authors show how it gets better.  And just as importantly, they explain why it must get better—because, according to Zac, the bigotry and intolerance 'hurt me and it hurts everyone.'"

Sheri Leafgren, Associate Professor
Miami University, OH
Key features
(1) The first book to apply the principles and tools of cultural proficiency to eliminating homophobia and heterosexism in our schools.

(2) Based on a simple but powerful premise, i.e., the first step to achieving systemic change is for professionals to look inward by examining their cultures, values, and beliefs in relation to the populations they serve.

(3) Incorporates cases and personal stories as illustrations of an inside-out growth process.

(4) Includes activities and reflective prompts for use by individuals and teams.

(5) Uses the Cultural Proficiency Continuum (one of the powerful tools of Cultural Proficiency) to analyze individual and schoolwide responses to bullying.

(6) Broad focus addresses multiple stakeholders including students, staff, parents, and community.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Context


For instructors

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