Joint initiative offers cultural competency micro-credential

It’s the only approved program in Virginia to meet the state’s cultural competency training requirement.

A diverse group of students, smiling.

The VCU School of Education’s Office of Strategic Engagement (OSE) is offering a unique professional learning opportunity for Virginia educators beginning in January.

The first 900 educators in Virginia who register for this pilot program by January 21, 2022, will be eligible to receive a Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Educator micro-credential, plus five hours of professional development recertification points. There is no cost for the first 900 registrants; the micro-credential is valued at $45.

To earn the recertification points, registrants must complete:

  • A zoom introductory session in January;
  • An online self-paced module; and
  • A concluding zoom session in February.

Joshua P. Cole, Ph.D., OSE executive director, said that culturally responsive educators are necessary for the equitable achievement of today’s increasingly diverse student population.

“Culturally responsive educators see the diversity in their classrooms as an asset and use their knowledge on students’ backgrounds to enrich educational experiences,” Cole said. “This professional learning opportunity will help them form a thorough understanding of the specific cultures of the students they teach.”

The micro-credential is a joint initiative between Virginia Commonwealth University and Radford University, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, and this program is currently the only one in the state approved for meeting the new cultural competency requirement: "Each school board shall adopt and implement policies that require each teacher and any other school board employee holding a license issued by the Board to complete cultural competency training, in accordance with guidance issued by the Board, at least every two years."

In 2021, the General Assembly passed legislation from Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, and Del. Clinton Jenkins, D-Suffolk, that requires teachers, principals and superintendents in Virginia to be evaluated on “cultural competency.” The measure was supported by the Virginia Education Association, one of the state’s largest teachers’ unions. Virginia’s Board of Education also added “culturally responsive teaching” to its list of performance standards for teachers.

The legislation from Locke and Jenkins requires competency training at least once every two years for teachers and administrators.

Registration for the pilot program is now open using this Google Form.