Posted: Wed, 10/03/2018 - 9:12pm

Principal’s Guide to Building Culturally Responsive Schools


Background on this Tool

The NAESP Diversity Task Force was established with the mission to examine and identify effective practices and exemplars to support principals who are leading strategic initiatives that promote positive student outcomes through policy and practice recommendations that ensure equity for all students and that honor and welcome diverse input. The findings and recommendations of the Diversity Task Force are compiled in this guide to assist principals as they work to transform their schools.

Though this tool is created by The National Association for Elementary School Principals, the recommendations within the guide are not specific to elementary schools only. The content of this guide is widely applicable between grade levels and school profile.


Guidance on How to Leverage this Tool

This tool provides some very foundational recommendations for building culturally responsive schools and includes a deep well of resources that schools could explore further. A school leader in the beginning of their efforts to improve culturally responsive teaching (CRT) at their school would greatly benefit from embedding these recommendations into the school’s improvement plan.

The guide is organized into four main sections that include an overview of knowledge building on each topic, recommendations for strategies, and a thorough list of the resources from which those recommendations were crafted.


Getting Started with The Principal’s Guide to Building Culturally Responsive Schools

 “To move a school toward cultural proficiency stewarded by culturally responsive leadership, school leaders must build the framework through culturally responsive pedagogy, which begins with the process of critical self-reflection” (Gay and Kirkland, 2003). This quote exemplifies the need for culturally responsive leadership in all elements of school. A school leader must start with self-reflection (using a tool such as this one) in order to thoughtfully guide the school to success for all students.

To begin with this resource, a school leader should start by reading and reflecting on the guide in its entirety. It is an easy to digest tool, with straightforward recommendations for each of the sections it covers. A school leader should review the recommendations in each section, carefully reflecting on the recommendations that seem most fitting considering their current school needs as they work toward culturally responsive schools. Once determining recommendations to be implemented, these should be incorporated into the school’s improvement plan using strategies for shared leadership. Many of the proposed strategies in this guide require the collaboration of many stakeholders – not just the school leader.


Reference: The National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, visit this webpage.