BELOVED COMMUNITY: Racial Equity & Justice in the Classroom


[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Sarah Rosman



Beloved Community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.”
-bell hooks

Have you heard about or had training in Culturally Responsive pedagogy and/or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and are wondering about the next steps? Are you committed to this work and looking for ways to integrate this into your classroom or school? Do you need help figuring out where to start or what to do next? You are not alone.

Social Justice movements and the pandemic have pushed many educators (and school districts) to reflect and invest in ideas that work to close the inequitable opportunity and achievement gaps for all of our students. We will use Dr. Sharroky Hollie’s book, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning to guide our thinking and learning and establish a clear trajectory toward leading for justice, equity, and liberation in our classrooms.

For more information on Sarah Rosman's courses, visit her website at

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Understand the meaning of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive teaching and learning.
  • Explore their culture and group identities understanding how these impact their views, beliefs, and practice.
  • Understand the role that pedagogy plays in Culturally and Linguistically responsive teaching.
  • Explore Responsive Management, Literacy, Vocabulary, Language, and Environment.
  • Look at the role “love” plays in a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Classroom.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom practice for Student Success by Dr. Sharroky Hollie. 2nd edition. Available at Amazon for approximately $19.35.

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduce Yourself

You must complete your introduction before moving on to other assignments.

Using FlipGrid (App for video recordings), create an account, and record a video of yourself with an introduction to who you are (and preferred pronouns) and your current teaching situation. Include a discussion of what led you to this class. Please touch on what you are hoping to get out of this course. Finally, please reflect on how you would like to grow as a culturally responsive educator.

Please look at two (2) other profiles and respond to them in a few short statements. Here is the FlipGrid link:, or join code: 56a16b02

NOTE: Once you have finished and uploaded your video greeting and responses to classmates, please note in your assignment response box that you have completed the assignment in FlipGrid.
Also, if you are the first two participants to join this course, do not be concerned; simply complete your video recording.

Assignment #2: Grounding in Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching

The struggle has always been inner and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads. - Gloria Anzaldúa


  • In your text, read chapter 1; this will provide you with an overall introduction to Hollie’s book and
    orientation towards Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Culturally Linguistically Responsive (CLR)
    terminology with definitions that we will use together, language, and context matters!  Hollie’s
    decision to use specific definitions was a choice for a specific reason; it's important to be
    connected to how we use terms and why.
  • ​Read the prologue and chapter 3 of Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo’s book,
    Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education.
    This reading will further illustrate the waters everyone swims in and how culture and
    socialization profoundly affect how we navigate the world and our classrooms.


1.    Make a diagram, visual, poster, collage, or drawing with images and text that:

  • ​Discusses what it means to be a part of your particular cultural and racial group(s)
  • How culturally and racially diverse were your neighborhood(s) and school(s) growing up?
  • What messages have you received about race from your family, friends, schools, and neighborhoods?


2.    Include a short written synthesis of the information gained (through the
       creation of the artistic visual representation) focusing on:

  • How has culture and race shaped parts of your life?
  • How does this affect your own values and assumptions you make as a teacher?
  • In what ways are your instruction and practice as an educator aligned/not aligned with those discussed by Hollie and/or Sensoy?
  • Where do you see your stretch in this pedagogy?

Note: Teaching and learning are contextual and not intended to universalize. This isn’t a place of guilt and shaming people and/or shaming yourself around your own values, group identities and/or culture! This is a place to interrogate what you know and why you think about things the way you do. We are all acculturated into the same world - it’s not your fault that these biases accompany your work. However, NOW you have the agency to unpack and unveil them to make a change.

Assignment #3: Understanding the Pedagogy to Move into Practice

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” - Paulo Freire

In chapter two, you will touch on the critical role that pedagogy plays in CLR, which will provide some ideas and activities, specifically the four educational pedagogies of CLR, to infuse into our practice. The reading from Hammond will discuss the thinking around what is causing the profound gap in achievement, opportunity, and learning for our students, thus participating in the creation of dependent learners, as well as what beliefs, assumptions, systems, and teaching hold these systems and gaps in place. These readings are provided for you to think about why Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Pedagogy is imperative to the well-being of our classroom communities. The videos are meant to exhibit how we can pivot our teaching to make these ideas a reality.

  1. In your text, read chapter 2
  2. Read: Climbing Out of the Gap, by Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.
  3. Watch these videos that discuss/exhibit Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Teaching in multiple ways and respond to them via Padlet.  Padlet link

In 250 words, how do you define Culturally (and Linguistically) Responsive Pedagogy after reading Zaretta Hammond’s Climbing Out of the Gap and watching/responding to the Flipgrid videos.

  • How does the way we traditionally think and talk about the achievement gap in education play a role in the creation of dependent learners?
  • What activities do you currently use that could be described as culturally and linguistically responsive?
  • Are they effective in fostering independence? If so, in what ways?

Note: Once you have uploaded or created your responses via Padlet and done your written reflection, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your Padlet part of the assignment in Padlet.

Assignment #4: Understanding the Deep Roots of Culture and Responsive Classroom Management

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

In your text, read chapter 3. This chapter digs into the importance of responsive classroom management and how implementing culturally and linguistically responsive teaching without it will be nearly impossible.
The reading also addresses how culture plays an instrumental role in understanding behaviors and actions in the classroom. Understanding our students' cultures has to start with us acknowledging and understanding our own. How this fits in a social-political realm and how our positionality can play into power dynamics fueling disconnection. Multiple levels of culture play an integral role in how we make sense of the world.

Please respond to the following:
Please watch Rethinking Thinking.
  • How does the Ladder of Inference play a role in how we as teachers read situations in our class, and how does culture play a role in this? Think about Cultural behaviors vs. “Wrong” behaviors and the matrix of cultural relativity.
  • What are the most difficult situations you encounter with classroom management? How have you attempted to address these situations? Pick a few ideas or methods discussed in the chapter and write about how you will incorporate them into your practice.
  • Read: Morning meetings as Responsive Classroom Management

Please read about Responsive Classroom’s Morning Meetings. How can this practice, structure, and routine organically and authentically integrate some of Hollie’s ideas about responsive classroom management?

Assignment #5: Cultivating Genius through Responsive Academic Literacy Instruction

“Literacy among Black people was not just tied to skills and proficiencies, which is a common notion of literacy today, but it was also defined as liberation and power. In this way, literacy was connected to acts of self-empowerment, self-determination, and self-liberation. It is important to note that these were the ambitions they cultivated for themselves rather than thinking that others would give them power to determine their life outcomes.” - Gholdy Muhammad

  • Read Chapter 5 and the Appendices:

            C: Rings of Culture Diagram
            D: Responsive Dots: Assessing Literature for CLR

Create a brief video response on this link addressing the following on FlipGrid:

  1. What are your big takeaways after the readings and video?
  2. What are some of the next steps you will take to infuse components discussed by Hollie and Muhammad
  3. Discuss at least 3 that you intend to integrate into your practice right away?

Note: Once you have uploaded or created your video response, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your video part of the assignment in Flipgrid.

Assignment #6: Acquisition of Academic Vocabulary

Read Chapter 4. This chapter touches on how we can tap into students' home language and background to anchor into deeper meaning and understanding of rigorous academic vocabulary, noting that the acquisition of academic language is fundamental in the continued growth and excellence in the larger literacy context.

  • Choose five (5) strategies that you will introduce into your practice and explain why.
  • Make a list of the five (5) strategies you will use (ideally in the order that you believe will work the best at the beginning of the year and grow throughout the year)

Assignment #7: The Gatekeeper: How we Flow to and through Language

Too often, our educational systems are holding standard English as the gatekeeper to success. Being responsive to our students means we are allowing space, as teachers, to learn. Responsive academic language instruction helps recognize the excellence and beauty our students bring with their home languages and utilizes them to expand the school’s language.

Read Chapter 6.
Read the New York Times article Blackness and Standard English Can Coexist 


Watch the video 3 ways to speak English by Jamila Lyiscott


View the Everyday Microaggressions table.

Create a brief video response on this link addressing the following on FlipGrid:

  • How is language a “gatekeeper”?
  • How do microaggressions play a role in the belief systems around languages that hold power?
  • Name 3 strategies you plan to implement from Dr. Hollie.

NOTE: Once you have finished and uploaded your video, please note in your assignment response box that you have completed the assignment in FlipGrid.

Assignment #8: Setting up the Environment + Beyond

Read Chapter 7 and Appendix H CLR Learning Environment Survey.

A responsive classroom environment takes into account both the physical and social factors of a space.

  • With a colleague using the CLR Learning Environment Survey (add/takeaway/adapt to meet your schools/classrooms culture and context) to assess your classroom environment.
  • What are the strengths and limitations of the classrooms?
  • What changes need to be made?

Assignment #9: Love in our Schools, Classrooms & Communities

“Love is an act of will, both an intention and an action. The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Love is an action, never simply a feeling. …It is an ethic, where we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust to ourselves and our community.” - bell hooks

After completing readings, videos, and responses on the padlet, write in 250+ words, a reflection on the following two ideas:

Note: Once you have uploaded or created your responses via Padlet and done your written reflection, please note in your assignment response box that you completed your Padlet part of the assignment in Padlet.

Assignment #10: Putting it all together: Becoming a Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Practit

“When no one even cared The rose it grew from concrete
Keepin all these dreams Provin nature's laws wrong
It learned how to walk without havin feet It came from concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Provin nature's laws wrong it learned how to walk without havin feet

-2Pac Shakur

Building true, strong learning partnerships is a delicate balance of critical hope, joy, love, practice, and rigor. It is a complex balance of self and communal awareness, give, push and pull. It also entails letting go of what isn't working, digging into what feels uncomfortable, and honoring the excellence that each of our students brings.

Create a mind map using five strands, graphics, and creativity to show your thinking and ideas about freedom dreaming, critical hope, revolution, and how we prepare students to become citizens of our communities. How does all of this fit inside the classroom? How can you start to sow these seeds in your practice?



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #11: Lesson Plan

In 400-500 words, describe in detail a lesson or series of activities you would do with students utilizing the components of Critically and Linguistically Responsive practice through literature, vocabulary and language. Identify the main themes and the subjects focused on while introducing these overall practices.

The link for the Lesson Plan.
What would you want students to come away with, and how would you evaluate your outcome?

Assignment #12: Activities

Complete all three (3) of the following activities:

Part A)
Journal for two (2) weeks thinking about this idea of love as a practice of freedom and outrageous love while observing a specific part of your practice. Keep a daily journal for the entire two weeks, trying out new ideas, provocations, and ultimately using this idea of “love” to push your practice forward in a new way. Take note of responses, reactions, involvement, and conversations.

  • How do you know when you are achieving this level of “freedom” in your class?
  • What are the outcomes that will happen for children and adults in this classroom community?

A bonus would be adding responses from the kids, drawings, notes about the research, and anything that will provide more documentation.

  • Include the specific area or part of your practice you will be focusing on and explain the reason for your choice
  • Keep daily documentation that includes student response, your own response, changes you might make, and overall effectiveness at the end of two weeks.


Part B)
Implications of Social Justice Integration in Culturally Responsive Teaching.
Using a unit of study previously taught in your classroom, reexamine it through a culturally and linguistically responsive lens. Use the Learning for Justice’s Social Justice standards, and design a week-long lesson span that supports and deepens the study. Get creative, still hold justice and responsiveness at the core, and incorporate specific learning targets and objectives from their Social Justice framework that will enrich your overall unit.

  • Write out the five (5) lesson adjustments that specifically are designed to address a social justice standard and add the context of the greater academic unit.
  • Be specific with what you will be doing, why, and how it will be related - be clear about how these will build into the larger scope of your year
  • Add three (3) specific community-building goals.
  • Add three (3) specific social justice.

Respond in a 250+ word response that explains your thinking, lists the lessons, and includes your lesson plans.


Part C)
Collaborate with a colleague

  • Meet with a colleague, and share what you have learned during this course.
  • Talk with your colleague about how you will integrate these practices this coming year.
  • Share three (3) concrete goals with them around what you hope to see as a result of this teaching.
  • Invite your colleague to introduce this practice as well and/or adapt their current practices to
    invest deeper in different areas with you as partners

Post your response which should include parts of the conversations, a response to your learning experience, your comfort level in sharing, and your own goals moving forward.

Assignment #13: (500 Level ONLY)

Complete Part A and two (2) other options.
Watch the videos and read the articles found in this Padlet link:

Part A)
Putting it all together: Racial Justice in our Classrooms (Required)


We Are The Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For, BY Grace Lee Boggs
  • Describe how you would use the readings and videos you just reviewed in your future teaching in 500+ words or an equivalent video response of 10 minutes.
  • How will you integrate this thinking and work around justice into your class and potentially your greater school community?
  • What specific strategies or actions will you utilize?
  • How will you keep yourself grounded and accountable for this type of work?

Option B)
Teach Kids with Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to enhance Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching

  • Read and watch videos about the teaching strategy VTS. Think about how this could be utilized to enhance your teaching in a CLR way. How is this integrated into a deeper connection for students?



Visual Thinking Strategies.

VTS: MFA School Partnerships.

Respond in a 250-500 word response that talks about how Visual Thinking Strategies can be used to create a deeper sense of connection to self, classmates, and the world. How will you integrate VTS into your classroom?

  • How will you integrate this thinking and work around justice into your class and potentially your greater school community?
  • What specific strategies or actions will you utilize?
  • How will you keep yourself grounded and accountable for this type of work?


Option C)
Building or Evolving a Culturally Responsive Book Library.
Write a paragraph or two: What are the differences between “culturally specific texts,” “culturally generic texts”, and “culturally neutral books”? Do some research, look at the appendixes, research online, go to your bookstores and libraries and check out some new books!

  • Choose ten (10) new Culturally Responsive books you haven't used before that you will integrate into your teaching.
  • Make an organized catalog with an outline of the specific book's focus and reflective notes for yourself after it is read/taught to help integrate new thinking for the future. This should be a growing document that changes over time and can be grown, used, and shared with your colleagues.


Option D)
Your Choice
An assignment of your own choice with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #14: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Sarah Rosman, M.Ed., (she/her/ella) found herself in education after traveling through Argentina and Chile with a group of artists, putting on role-playing experiences for immersion language acquisition for all ages. After the experience of teaching in traditional Argentinian schools and non traditional experiential education, Sarah returned to the United States to study what rooted her philosophical beliefs and framework. She received her Master of Education from Lewis and Clark with a certification in ESL.

Sarah has been teaching for over 15 years primarily in Portland Public Schools, during that time she has also been a consultant, adjunct professor, researcher and student. Her work is anchored in true continual education and inspiration, which she has found through a growing community of educators and thought-leaders around the world.  Currently, Sarah is consulting on issues surrounding race, justice, language, and education while her family lives between Portland, Oregon and Oaxaca, Mexico.

For more information on my courses, visit my website at



BELOVED COMMUNITY: Racial Equity & Justice in the Classroom

  • Alexander, Michelle. 2012. New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
  • Christensen, Linda. 2012. Rethinking Elementary Education: Rethinking Schools. Milwaukee, WI.
  • Cowhey, M. 2006. black ants and buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades. Stenhouse. Portland, Maine.
  • Derman-sparks, L., & Ramsey, P. G. 2005. What if all the children in my class are White?: Anti-bias/multicultural education with White children. Young Children, (November).
  • Derman-Sparks, L. & Olsen Edwards, J. 2009. Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • DiAngelo, R. 2012. What does it mean to be white? Developing white racial literacy. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
  • Emdin, Christopher. 2016. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education. Beacon Press. Boston, MA.
  • Freire, Paulo. 2000. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum. New York, NY.
  • Gay, Geneva. 2018. Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • hooks, bell. 1994. Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. NewYork, NY: Routledge.
  • Hammond, Zaretta. 2015. Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin. Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Hollie, Sharroky. 2018. Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success. Shell Education. Huntington Beach, CA.
  • Love, Bettina. 2019. We Want To DO More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching And The Pursuit Of Educational Freedom. Beacon Press. Boston, MA.
  • Muhammad, Gholdy. 2020. Cultivating Genius: An EquityFramework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. Scholastic. New York, NY.
  • Sensoy Ozlem & DiAngelo R. 2017. Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. Teachers College Press. New York, NY.