Given the crucial issues of disproportionality and the growing diversity of our K-12 student population it is imperative that today's classroom teachers be prepared to critically examine, reflect on and respond to practices for learners with diverse needs and from diverse backgrounds. While effective teachers are the key to meeting the needs of diverse learners and critical in preparing these learners for the twenty-first century, teacher preparation programs must examine how equipped they are in modeling and teaching culturally responsive practices. For one teacher preparation program in the western United States, integrating culturally responsive content and learning experiences into course and field work meant that every aspect of the urban, elementary and secondary and special education programs warranted attention. Informed by an external evaluation of their program that highlighted: a near absence of community-based learning experiences for teacher candidates, a glaring concern regarding our limited conceptualization of social justice and diversity, and a need for enhanced efforts at recruitment of diverse teacher candidates, faculty first began by increasing their own knowledge about culturally responsive teaching. The authors describe how professional development was designed and implemented and ensuing programmatic changes.
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