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Standard 3: Cultural Leadership

Summary: School executives will understand and act on the understanding of the important role a school’s culture contributes to the exemplary performance of the school. School executives must support and value the traditions, artifacts, symbols and positive values and norms of the school and community that result in a sense of identity and pride upon which to build a positive future. A school executive must be able to “reculture” the school if needed to align with school’s goals of improving student and adult learning and to infuse the work of the adults and students with passion, meaning and purpose.

Cultural leadership implies understanding the school as the people in it each day, how they came to their current state, and how to connect with their traditions in order to move them forward to support the school’s efforts to achieve individual and collective goals.

Practices: The school executive practices effective cultural leadership when he or she
  • Creates a collaborative work environment predicated on site-based management that supports the “team” as the basic unit of learning and decision-making within the school and promotes cohesion and cooperation among staff;
  • Communicates strong ideals and beliefs about schooling, teaching, and professional learning communities with teachers, staff, parents, and students and then operates from those beliefs;
  • Influences the evolution of the culture to support the continuous improvement of the school as outlined in the school improvement plan;
  • Systematically develops and uses shared values, beliefs and a shared vision to establish a school identity that emphasizes a sense of community and cooperation to guide the disciplined thought and action of all staff and students;
  • Systematically and fairly acknowledges failures and celebrates accomplishments of the school and staff;
  • Visibly supports the positive, culturally-responsive traditions of the school community;
  • Promotes a sense of well-being among staff, students and parents;
  • Builds a sense of efficacy and empowerment among staff that result in a “can do” attitude when faced with challenges; and
  • Empowers staff to recommend creative 21st century concepts for school improvement.

  • Work of Professional Learning Communities within and tangential to the school
  • Documented use of the SIT in decision making throughout the year
  • NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  • School improvement plan
  • Teacher retention data
  • Student achievement data
  • Awards structure developed by school

A. Focus on Collaborative Work Environment: The principal/assistant principal understands and acts on the understanding of the positive role that a collaborative work environment can play in the school’s culture.

B. School Culture and Identity: The principal/assistant principal develops and uses shared vision, values and goals to define the identity and culture of the school.

C. Acknowledges Failures; Celebrates Accomplishments and Rewards: The principal/assistant principal acknowledges failures and celebrates accomplishments of the school in order to define the identity, culture and performance of the school.

D. Efficacy and Empowerment: The principal/assistant principal develops a sense of efficacy and empowerment among staff which influences the school’s identity, culture and performance.

Examples of Artifacts:
  • School Improvement Plan
  • School Improvement Team
  • NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey
  • Evidence of shared decision making and distributed leadership
  • Recognition criteria and structure utilized
  • Documented use of School Improvement Team in decision making
  • Student achievement and testing data
  • Existence and work of professional learning communities
  • Teacher retention data

Course Objectives
  1. Learners will examine the elements of the NC Executive Standards and identify practices associated with each standard.
  2. Learners will evaluate their leadership practices and examine ways to improve their performance as leaders.
  3. Learners will develop a collaborative network with other school leaders enrolled in the course.
  4. Learners will reflect on their leadership skills and create a plan to increase the impact of their leadership on teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders.

Module thoughts - Who What, When, Where, Why, How
  1. What is the definition Cultural Diversity?
    • Understanding the traditions, culture, and value of people
    • Appreciating the differences in individuals. Can be based on gender, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and status.
  2. What is the cultural diversity (makeup) of your school?
    • Caucasian, Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians
    • Diversity may also be based on level of knowledge (college, non-college), beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs, and other capabilities and habits.
    • Subculture refers to minority cultures within a larger dominant culture
  3. Who benefits from the cultural diversity of your school?
    • Teachers, students, parents, community
  4. How do you address the cultural diversity of your school?
    • Activities, parent nights, events, community outreach. newletters, etc.
    • Parents will have beliefs about health, disease, treatment, and health care
  5. What are your biases and those of your faculty?
    • Do you know the biases of the faculty?
    • Types of bias: gender, cultural, economic, ethic
  6. How can you overcome those biases?
    • Staff development training
    • Bring in parents and community leaders to addresss biases with the staff
  7. What does it mean to respect cultural diversity?
    • Having cultural respect for other's differences
    • Learn about and accept traditions, heritage, language, religion, ancestry, aesthethics, thinking patterns, and social structures of each culture.


Cultural Diversity for Administrative Training
Equity Toolkit for Administrators
Fostering Cultural Diversity in Your School
Diversity and Cultural Differences
Equity and Diversity
Teachers Should Be Trained to Overcome Hidden Biases
As Diversity Grows So Must We
Administration Preparation fo rMulticultural Leadership
Recognize Teacher Bias
5 Keys to Challenging Implicit Bias
Seven Forms of Bias
Classrom Biases Hinder Student Learning
Four Ways Teachers Can Reduce Implicit Bias
Test Yourself for Hidden Biases


Lesson Plans

American Indian Education in North Carolina

EdChange Handout

American Psychological Association - Improving Student Relationships with Teachers

Dick Blick Art Supplies - Multicultural Lesson Plans

Children in Poverty 2014

Children of Immigrants 2014

eHow - How to Teach to a Diverse Classroom

Classroom Observation Scenario - PDF

How to Add Diversity to Your Classroom

Cultural Diversity PowerPoint with Notes - Word

How to Avoid Bias in the Classroom

Cultural Diversity PowerPoint

PBS - Cultural Diversity Lessons

Cultural Diversity PowerPoint - PDF

Read Write Think - Cultural Diversity Lessons

Scholastic - Cultural Diversity

How Cultural Dynamics and Teacher Preparation Affect Education

Overcoming Hidden Biases in the Classroom - PDF

Scholastic - Multiculturalism and Diversity

Student Diversity - PDF

Teaching Tolerance - Cultural Diversity

Students as Individuals - PDF

Teaching Strategies and Approaches for Pupils with Special Education Needs

Teaching Diversity: Resources

TeacherVision - Cultural Diversity