Cheltenham Leads the Charge in Creating Countywide Cultural Proficiency / Equity Student Ambassadors Program
With Superintendent Dr. Wagner Marseille leading the charge, Cheltenham is one of the founding members of the Montgomery County Cultural Proficiency / Equity Student Ambassador program. North Penn, Norristown and Upper Dublin are also among the founding members. The Cheltenham and Ambler NAACP are involved as well.
The program’s goals include developing a cultural proficiency/equity student leadership council; building capacity to engage and serve as allies for their peers and others, creating a space for student voice on social justice issues, developing strategies to self-advocate; establishing peer leadership opportunities; and developing student diversity trainers. These students will serve as a cultural proficiency ambassadors for their communities and beyond.
“Cultural proficiency is the key to thriving in culturally diverse classrooms and schools,” said Dr. Marseille, “and it can be learned, practiced and institutionalized to better serve diverse students and their families and communities.”
The group has met three times and discussed the continuum of cultural competency, how to identify culturally proficient beliefs, values and practices, developing strategies to respond to culturally insensitive events, and equity and social justice issues which impact them directly or indirectly.
Cultural competence entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that, taken together, underlie effective cross-cultural teaching and culturally responsive teaching. This learning will enrich and prepare students for life in the 21st century, global society and support the elimination of the achievement gap and other disparities.