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Hartford Schools To Require 'Cultural Competency' Training

By VANESSA DE LA TORRE

April 06, 2012

HARTFORD The school system will require new hires to undergo diversity training starting next academic year.

In subsequent years, Hartford will mandate that all educators be trained in "cultural competency," Superintendent Christina Kishimoto told the school board April 3. "Our parents have been asking for this."

Kishimoto mentioned the plan while presenting her top five budget priorities for the 2012-13 year, which includes professional development. Jennifer Allen, the schools' chief talent officer, said administrators are in the process of creating the training program and offered no other details.

In Hartford, where about nine out of 10 Hartford students are identified as Hispanic, black or Asian, about three-quarters of city teachers and half of the administrators are white. Over the years, some parents have called for more cultural sensitivity in the classrooms and in educators' interactions with families.

Leaders of Connecticut's chapter of the NAACP have also advocated for cultural competency training during recent forums with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor.

Hartford Federation of Teachers President Andrea Johnson said she supported the effort and noted that union members have participated in similar training in the past.

Along with the American Federation of Teachers, CT Parent Power and the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, the union sponsored a session on culturally responsive teaching strategies that was held at Hartford's Charter Oak Cultural Center in Nov. 2010, she said.

William Howe, who handles civil rights compliance for the state Department of Education, was the presenter.

"The diversity of children and how educators across the country should understand different cultures [is] very important," Johnson said. "I think it's a great thing. I really do."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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