CP&I Newsletter #AISDAtHome

~~~Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness ~~~ August 2020~~~~

Big picture

CP&I Vision

Provide ongoing, meaningful coaching and professional learning opportunities for Austin ISD staff to engage in critical self-reflection on their interaction with students and their families in a manner that considers the diverse needs of all. The goals and objectives for the office are focused on clearly communicating an equitable and responsive lens in all that we do. The Race Equity Council serves as our body of partners committed to the work and possessing the multiple perspectives to keep our focus on the vision.

Big picture


Whiteness as Property

Critical race theory (CRT) formed from a collective movement built on the work of activists in critical legal studies and radical feminism. CRT consists of recognition of the following:

  1. Permanence of race and racism

  2. Interest convergence

  3. Social construction of race and the malleability of the concept

  4. Whiteness as property

  5. Intersectionality

  6. Counterstorytelling

Because CRT is ever-changing, specialized lenses have emerged such as, but not limited to, Latino-Critical (LatCrit), TribalCrit, queer-crit, Asian American Jurisprudence, and community cultural capital. This message focuses on the CRT tenet whiteness as property.

Whiteness is a term used by AntiRacist leaders and critical race theorists. In our face-to-face professional learning session, White Fragility: Understanding Whiteness to Overcome Discomfort in Conversations About Race, we explore the concept of whiteness and how it shows up in each of us. Whiteness shows up in actions, structures, processes, and protocols in our work and daily lives. It shows up in each of our actions, assumptions, and beliefs about what is proper, what is appropriate, and what is necessary. Whiteness shows up in our word choice, what we accept as true, and good, and wise, and powerful. Whiteness is governed by law - prioritized in policy - and enacted by each of us everyday in the ways we engage in our daily lives. Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) on whiteness in education reference that property rights have been strictly granted to white students through curriculum. The curriculum is designed so that white students see themselves reflected in it. This is not saying white students are bad people; what it’s saying is the curriculum is culturally affirming to white teachers and students, excluding and dehumanizing the perspectives and lived experiences of children of color. Whiteness shows up in the "norms" for a meeting or training versus "agreements" for how we will work together and show up collectively. Whiteness shows up in data analysis that centers academic deficits of students of color, but never focuses on the huge gains made by black and brown students over the decades compared to the slow incremental growth of white students in the same time frame.

Next month we will address one more tenet of critical race theory, counterstorytelling. Consider whose stories are centered as you reflect on whiteness and how it shows up in each of us. Whose voices are centered, whose voices are silenced? What happens to planning and decision making processes when the voices at the table are always in agreement?

I offer you the seminal work of Dr. Cheryl Harris, "Whiteness as Property" (1993), available for free download from the Harvard Law Review.

Big picture

CP&I Essential Questions

This summer we've been engaging in professional learning with district leaders, principals, new teachers, and returning educators. There are three essential questions that have framed our work at the AISD Leadership Institute, Teacher Induction Program (TIP), and AISD Edu:

  • How do we utilize culturally proficient and inclusive ways of being to disrupt the predictability of success or failure by race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or immigration status?

  • How does Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness relate to culturally relevant teaching, culturally responsive teaching, culturally & linguistically sustaining pedagogy and educator praxis?

  • How do we shift our practices away from punitive, prescriptive, and deficit structures to practices that center identity-safety where children learn, grow and lead?

We invite you to reflect on these questions and use them to guide the work that you do this year for our students, families, and community in Austin ISD.

Big picture


This position is responsible for designing and offering a wide range of academic and holistic support services for the children and families at EIR grant campuses to include developing a restorative center on campus, developing campus protocols for referrals to the restorative center, and facilitating staff professional learning in culturally responsive restorative practices.

For more information and to apply, click here:


***Note: The position posting is being updated to reflect a CP4 paygrade and 209 duty days.

Big picture


AntiRacist Principal Vertical Team Leadership Series

This is a repeat of Day 1 for principals who missed the 7/21 session (last chance to join)

Date: August 14th, 1:00-4:00

Registration: HCP session #95646

This series is for principals only

A minority of Americans are consciously aware that racism and anti-blackness have been Stamped from the Beginning in our national culture. For others, recent pandemic and policing realities have raised common interest in antiracism. Accordingly, we are a school system where most of our educators have different lived (and understood) racial experiences from our students. To address this complexity and work to ensure identity-safe schools, the CP&I Office is launching an AntiRacist Leadership series for Principal Vertical Teams.

Description: Austin ISD Principals, are you wondering how to begin leading with an AntiRacist lens? The current reality of #AISDAtHome and #BlackLivesMatter has thrust our schools into actively responding to the social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs of students, staff, families and the Austin,Texas community at large. Vertical Teams are writing letters to your community and making commitments to start your journey to AntiRacist leadership. Gather up your vertical team of principals for a series of learning engagements with the Office of Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness. We will critically self-reflect on what it takes to be an Anti-Racist leader and co-create a community to build our collective capacity for culturally proficient and inclusive campus leadership. This series will be delivered as a cohort model. Your full vertical team will be required to actively participate in this session to be invited to attend the subsequent sessions in the series.

Big picture
Resources for CP&I Personal Learning

Click here for Resources for Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness: Developing AntiRacist Classroom Spaces

The Blanton Museum has an ongoing commitment to social justice. Alongside our country’s much-needed dialogue about police brutality and structural racism and how it impacts Black and Brown communities, they share resources to highlight the voices of artists, scholars, and community leaders that have addressed race, inequality, and justice through exhibitions and programs at the Blanton. Check out their resources to incorporate Race and Social Justice in Art to foster meaningful dialogue about race and inequity in the art world, in our local community in Austin and Central Texas, and in this country. Click here to access their resources: https://blantonmuseum.org/chapter/introduction-14/
ADL’s No Place for Hate®, the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin ISD Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness, and The CREATE Lab have teamed up to bring anti-bias education and object based learning to our schools. The resources below feature works of art from the Blanton selected to foster important conversations and inspire students to act! The theme for this series is Identity, and the works of art should be used to foster curiosity about ourselves and others and raise awareness of our sense of belonging. The guides have everything you need to create successful discussions and No Place for Hate Action Projects.

In the guides you will find:

  • No Place for Hate guidelines for Action Projects
  • Information about the artist and artwork
  • Guiding questions for initial discussion and making
  • Suggested community action projects

Click below for the three levels of art and resources in this series. Note: the activities for each piece of art can be modified for prek-12...

Free To Be Me: Exploring Identity

Elementary (can be modified for prek-12)

Click here for access to the Elementary online Free To Be Me: Exploring Identity art and resources.

Middle School (can be modified for prek-12)

Click here for access to the Middle School online Free To Be Me: Exploring Identity art and resources

High School (can be modified for prek-12)

Click here for access to the High School online Free To Be Me: Exploring Identity art and resources

Big picture

Austin ISD Race Equity Council Updates

The Race Equity Council has arranged itself into three groups that put their AntiRacist lenses into action in distinct areas of focus:

  • The Community & Family Engagement group: This Race Equity Council group is partnering with ACPTA, Parent Engagement Support Office, and the Equity Office to open “a door for Austin ISD parents and caregivers to start a conversation about race in our community.” The next session is Friday, August 7th and based on participant feedback, students will be speaking about how they talk about race in their families. The adults will then connect in small group conversations to discuss their experience talking about race with the young people in their lives. Join us!
  • WHAT: RaceTalks for Austin ISD Parents + Caregivers
  • WHEN: Friday, Aug 7th TIME: 9-10:30am
  • WHERE: Zoom (with Spanish interpretation + ASL, other)
  • Register: https://t.co/FouFycVOXv?amp=1

  • The Student Leadership group recently attended a Pacific Educational Group (aka Courageous Conversation) training to support Racial Equity Leadership elective teachers - and their administrators - in using protocol and preparing for their second school year engaging students in race equity work. The Student Leadership group is openly supporting the vision for the district-wide Student Equity Council, researching the methods and tools needed to connect and equip high school students moving forward. Students and staff are becoming building capacity to collectively address our system and grow its capacity to produce equitable outcomes.

  • The Professional Learning group is preparing to support over 140 CP&I Leadership Pathway educators this fall. We have completed two sessions of the inaugural, two-year CP&I Leadership Pathway. In this first of four semester-long Micro-credentials, teachers are focused on learning the Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency. For example, one of the nine guiding principles is, “People are served in varying degrees by the dominant culture”. An example of this is how our lived experiences in public education differ considerably based on our proximity to cultural whiteness, white people and wealth.

    Our Day 2 Leadership Pathway session featured a surprise guest lecture from Cultural Proficiency framer Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins, who shared anecdotal origin stories of how Cultural Proficiency became a framework in the field of education. Dr. Nuri-Robins also went in depth about how well the guiding principles connect to teachers’:

    • view of their students

    • relationship to their students

    • personal identity work

    • self-reflection

    • teaching practices

    • classroom instruction, and

    • educational philosophy

Big picture
Identity comes first. “Identity is who you say you are, who others say you are… (and) who you desire to be,” Dr. Gholdy Muhammad says. “I feel like children are trying to make sense of all three areas, and the curriculum and the pedagogy should be an opportunity for students to know themselves.”
Historically Responsive Literacy

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.

Big picture
Big picture

Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices in Austin ISD

It's almost back to school time in Austin, Texas, and we will enter school in a different way than we ever have before -- in online virtual spaces. Even though we are online, building community and relationships with our students and their families is still imperative. We still need to get to know the children we serve and their families. We still need to share of ourselves so children and families can know us.

This month we share the Tier 1 Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices (CRRP, pronounced /serp/) model to support you as you consider how to start the year. Tier 1 is the universal tier, so that means all children and families in our schools benefit from educators prioritizing building and maintaining relationships within the classroom community. Review the image above for basics about how to develop and use Tier 1 Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices in your classroom.

Here is a link to a resource with ideas for building community online.

If you'd like to learn more about CRRP in Austin ISD you can register in HCP for our Introduction to Restorative Practices Blend course: section: 86636.

Big picture
Archived CP&I Newsletters

Click here to access resources from past CP&I Newsletters!

Big picture
Big picture