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2020 Showcase of Projects

Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices forefront student culture in the development of curriculum and the delivery of instruction. Culturally responsive teachers view students’ cultural differences as assets in the learning process. Research suggests that when teachers are well-equipped to foster inclusive and equitable classrooms, students from marginalized backgrounds show higher rates of academic achievement, motivation, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. 

This webpage documents the work of educators participating in a two-year grant-funded professional development program focused on CRT. The program currently engages teams in two high schools in Chesterfield County (Monacan and Meadowbrook) and two middle schools in Henrico County (Quioccasin and Tuckahoe). 

For the program, the participating educators attended a three-day workshop in the summer of 2019 where they were introduced to CRT with a specific focus on Zaretta Hammond’s Ready for Rigor framework. At the workshop they also learned about school-based action research methods and planned an initial research project focused on CRT. Following the workshop, the educators conducted four cycles of action research in their classrooms and schools that involved (1) planning and implementing a CRT practice, (2) collecting and reflecting on data related to student outcomes, and (3) planning for a new cycle. Each cycle lasted six to eight weeks. The school teams met after each research cycle (four times through the 19-20 school year) to present and reflect upon their work and the work of their colleagues. 

To share the results of the first year of this program, we are presenting profiles of the educators and their projects. The profiles come in one of three formats selected by the teacher: video interview, narrated slideshow, or written interview. In all cases we asked the teachers to reflect on themselves as teachers, their classrooms and schools, their culturally responsive teaching practice, and what they have learned. We also had them reflect on the current moment (as our school buildings are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and their hopes for the next school year.  

The profiles are organized into four themes based on the student outcomes on which they were most focused: student voice, cultural awareness, academic confidence, and connection / belonging


The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305H190053 to Virginia Commonwealth University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

The projects in this category are focused on promoting student voice in the classroom as well as the broader school culture.


The projects in this category are focused on helping students to learn about their own cultures and the cultures of others (mirrors, windows, and bridges/sliding glass doors).


The projects in this category are focused on building students' academic self-confidence and self-efficacy/belief in themselves as successful learners.



The projects in this category are focused on promoting students' connections and sense of belonging within school.  This includes connections to teachers and to other students.