About > CRSL Framework

Giving leaders a new set of eyes.

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A teenage girl with dark skin tone and short curly hair hangs a poster of a hand painted rainbow on a wall. She is smiling, and wearing glasses and braces on her teeth.
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With a scholarly, researched-backed perspective, our Culturally Responsive School Leadership framework helps school districts start and sustain their equity journey.

Culturally Responsive School Leadership (CRSL) should not be thought of as having a singular quantifiable definition, or as a practice that can be difinitively attained. Rather, it should be thought of as a flexible and dynamic process that educators are constantly honing and working toward. CRSL has a set of practices and traits with which educators and researchers are always seeking and improving. Our understanding of CRSL is based on recent research and on a recent literature review by Khalifa, Gooden, and Davis (2016).

Culturally Responsive School Leadership Framework

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Critically Self-Reflects on Leadership Behaviors

  • Accepting indigenized, local identities (Khalifa, 2010)
  • Displays a critical consciousness on practice in and out of school; displays self-reflection (Gooden & Dantley, 2012; Johnson, 2006)
  • Uses school data and indicants to measure CRSL (Skrla, Scheurich, Garcia, & Nolly, 2004)
  • Uses parent/community voices to measure cultural responsiveness in schools (Ishimaru, 2013; Smyth, 2006)
  • Challenges Whiteness and hegemonic epistemologies in school (Theoharis & Haddix, 2011)
  • Using equity audits to measure student inclusiveness, policy, and practice (Skrla et al., 2004)
  • Leading with courage (Khalifa, 2011; Nee-Benham, Maenette, & Cooper, 1988)
  • Is a transformative leader for social justice and inclusion (Alston, 2005; Gooden, 2005; Gooden & O’Doherty, 2015; Shields, 2010)

Develops Culturally Responsive Teachers

  • Developing teacher capacities for cultural responsive pedagogy (Ginsberg & Wlodkowski, 2000; Voltz, Brazil, & Scott, 2003)
  • Collaborative walkthroughs (Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Creating culturally responsive PD opportunities for teachers (Ginsberg & Wlodkowski, 2000; Voltz et al., 2003)
  • Using school data to see cultural gaps in achievement, discipline, enrichment, and remedial services (Skrla et al., 2004)
  • Creating a CRSL team that is charged with constantly finding new ways for teachers to be culturally responsive (Gardiner & Enomoto, 2006)
  • Engaging/reforming the school curriculum to become more culturally responsive (Sleeter, 2012; Villegas & Lucas, 2002)
  • Modeling culturally responsive teaching (Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Using culturally responsive assessment tools for students (Hopson, 2001; Kea, Campbell- Whatley, & Bratton, 2003)

Promotes Culturally Responsive/Inclusive School Environments

  • Accepting indigenized, local identities (Khalifa, 2010)
  • Building relationships; reducing anxiety among students (Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Modeling CRSL for staff in building interactions (Khalifa, 2011; Tillman, 2005)
  • Promoting a vision for an inclusive instructional and behavioral practices (Gardiner & Enomoto, 2006; Webb- Johnson, 2006; Webb-Johnson & Carter, 2007)
  • If need be, challenging exclusionary policies, teachers, and behaviors (Khalifa, 2011; Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Acknowledges, values, and uses Indigenous cultural and social capital of students (Khalifa, 2010, 2012)
  • Uses student voice (Antrop-González, 2011; Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Using school data to discover and track disparities in academic and disciplinary trends (Skiba et al., 2002; Skrla et al., 2004; Theoharis, 2007)

Engages Students, Parents, and Indigenous Contexts

  • Developing meaningful, positive relationships with community (Gardiner & Enomoto, 2006; Johnson, 2006; Walker, 2001)
  • Is a servant leader, as public intellectual and other roles (Alston, 2005; Gooden, 2005; Johnson, 2006)
  • Finding overlapping spaces for school and community (Cooper, 2009; Ishimaru, 2013; Khalifa, 2012)
  • Serving as advocate and social activist for community-based causes in both the school and neighborhood community (Capper, Hafner, & Keyes, 2002; Gooden, 2005; Johnson, 2006; Khalifa, 2012)
  • Uses the community as an informative space from which to develop positive understandings of students and families (Gardiner & Enomoto, 2006)
  • Resists deficit images of students and families (Davis, 2002; Flessa, 2009)
  • Nurturing/caring for others; sharing information (Gooden, 2005; Madhlangobe & Gordon, 2012)
  • Connecting directly with students (Gooden, 2005; Khalifa, 2012; Lomotey, 1993)