We train educators on strategies to better connect with their students, address inequity, and achieve better outcomes.

Through all-day events such as the Diversity Leadership Institute for Teachers, as well as workshops designed for educators chaperoning students to our regional and statewide conferences, YCD offers professional development for teachers to enrich their classrooms, discuss the latest trends and strategies for being an inclusive educator, and most importantly achieve success for all students.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally responsive teaching, or CRT, recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning.

This form of teaching has become increasingly critical for students of color and other marginalized groups, as the US student population becomes increasingly diverse while most teachers continue to be white and female.  By employing culturally responsive teaching methods, white teachers can better connect and relate to their students, and vice versa, to achieve better outcomes in the classroom.

Colorado CRT Mentor Directory

YCD is in the process of developing a directory of Colorado-based content-area experts in culturally responsive teaching, for providing advice and help to newer teachers in their subject area about how to implement CRT within their domain.  We have found that while many teachers support CRT in theory, they have difficulty applying it in practice without an expert who teaches in their field.

How it Works

  • There is no formal training or in-person meeting required to participate in this project.  We are accepting nominations of teachers from respected sources across the state.
  • There is no obligation beyond timely response to emails or phone calls that may come in from newer teachers seeking your advice.  We do not require you to cc anyone on the communication or report it to us – we want use of the directory to be 1×1 communication between classroom teachers on how to best leverage CRT in their context.  We will leverage web traffic statistics to help us understand how much the directory is being used, and we may send out a survey to the directory participants once every 6-12 months for their feedback.
  • Our goal is to amass about 25-30 people in the directory before we publish it on our website.  We hope to accomplish this by the end of this school year, so that it’s available starting this summer.  We’ll continue to add names to the directory over time, so that we have a deep roster of experts in each subject area/domain, each with their own experiences and strategies.
  • Once the directory is live on our website, we’ll be promoting it to the local Colorado schools of education that are graduating new teachers, as well as to the PD departments at all of Colorado’s school districts.  We want all newer teachers to be aware of this directory as a resource and leverage it for everyone’s benefit.
  • If you are contacted by a newer teacher seeking your help, and you are too busy to handle the request, you are free to let them know that so they can seek advice from another person on the directory.

Become a CRT Mentor

If you are interested in becoming a culturally responsive teaching mentor, please fill out this short application form.

Organizations Supporting Teachers Advancing Equity

The Anti-Defamation League, created in 1913, fights anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, and works extensively on issues surrounding race, bias, extremism and hate crimes. ADL Mountain States' region, based in Denver and serving Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, provides many resources for teachers and young people, including lesson plans, cyberbullying resources and the No Place for Hate program.

Facing History and Ourselves uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.

Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens. Their resources include a wide selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults and educators.

Teaching Tolerance provides free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use their materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants. Their program emphasizes social justice and anti-bias.

The Western Educational Equity Assistance Center, based in Denver at Metropolitan State University, assists states, school districts, public schools (including charter and magnet schools), and Tribal Education Departments to plan and implement practices and policies that promote equity and high quality education for all students. They provide training and technical assistance on educational issues related to race, sex, national origin, and religion. At the request of education agencies, WEEAC partners with them to find solutions to a variety of equity problems. Their work is directed to closing achievement gaps, promoting safe schools, and helping all students reach high standards. WEEAC's work covers the Western portion of the United States, including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

YCD Workshops on Teaching for Equity

Below is a sampling of workshops YCD has offered at prior conferences and events on teaching for equity. Click on any workshop title to read more about the session, the presenter, and reviews from our participants.

Appropriation and Symbolism: Understanding the Case of the Zia Sun Symbol

A group of students sit in a circle.

In this workshop dive into the world of symbols, meaning, and context from a Pueblo perspective. Start by learning about the history of Native American design appropriation through the case study of the Zia Sun symbol on the New Mexico State flag. Then explore your own understanding and use of symbols in a hands-on activity and group discussion.

Breaking the Chains: Engaging Young Men of Color in School

One student speaks while another looks at him intently.

In this student-led workshop, the Student Board of Education/5280 Challenge team from the Denver Center for International Studies will help participants reflect upon the status of young men of color in schools, as well as share and develop strategies to engage them. Young men of color, particularly African American and Raza male students, are often absent from leadership roles in school, find themselves alienated in classes, and are targeted for harsh disciplinary practices. Each group of participants will develop ways to address this problem in schools. All of us means ALL of us.

Building a Strong Diversity Club at Your School

Are you interested in creating a diversity club at your own school? Do you already have a diversity club and are looking for ways to recruit students and host events? This workshop will allow you to engage in an open dialogue, provide you with tools, tricks, and ideas to grow and nurture your own diversity club, and create space for future collaboration with educators and students from many schools.

Challenging Inequities as Educators

Hayley Breden leads a workshop on challenging inequities as educators.

In this workshop, we will have an open and honest discussion among educators (all adults who work with young people) as we work towards three main goals:

  • Develop our equity and diversity vocabularies so that we can effectively work for justice
  • Create and use time to reflect, learn, and grow in our own work to support all students
  • Learn about and share resources that will help us to challenge inequities and value all students

This workshop will be informative, reflective, and solutions-oriented.  Join your colleagues for an insightful session!

Challenging Linguistic Prejudice

Three teen girls talk in a small group.

What assumptions do you have about language diversity? Participants will be asked to reflect on how linguistic prejudice is still largely accepted in society (demonstrated with several current media examples) whereas other types of discrimination are not. The workshop will end with discussing real world consequences of linguistic prejudice, and how this form of prejudice impacts our lives today.

Creating a Diversity-Focused School Administration

A group of educators engage in discussion on how to create a diversity-focused school administration.

What strategies can teachers employ to drive change in their schools?  Buy-in from school administrators is critical for any diversity initiative.  Join Janet Sammons, founder of YCD’s Cherry Creek Diversity Conference, for a brainstorming session on how teachers can gain support from school administrators for diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives.  Together, we’ll share what has worked and what hasn’t when creating a diversity-focused school administration.

Culturally Responsive Teaching 101

Dr. Maria Salazar leads a workshop on culturally responsive teaching.

Are you unsure how to apply culturally responsive teaching methods to your lessons, or why it’s even important?  Join Dr. Maria Salazar as she uses her experiences as a student, educator and now professor to demonstrate the value of culturally responsive teaching.  Dr. Salazar will also provide several examples of culturally relevant lesson plans from a variety of content areas—math, social studies, foreign language and more—to inspire you.

How to Spot Fake News

A group of teenagers huddle around a person looking something up on their phone.

Are you puzzled about telling real news from fake news? Join savvy researchers to learn the tricks and tools reference librarians use to evaluate the credibility of news stories.​ Then use your new skills to rate media sources on a journalistic reliability scale.

Including Students with Disabilities

We all can and should do better to include students with disabilities, both in the classroom and socially. But how?  This workshop will feature a panel of students and open dialogue to explore strategies for being more inclusive in every aspect of our lives. The session will be led by the Director of Academic Inclusion for UNC GOAL, a fully inclusive college opportunity for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities at the University of Northern Colorado.

Including Students with Disabilities

We all can and should do better to include students with disabilities, both in the classroom and socially. But how?  This workshop will feature open dialogue to explore strategies for being more inclusive in every aspect of our lives. We will explore physical, developmental and invisible disabilities and how we can become allies for the disabled community.

Inclusion, Identity and Belonging

A diverse group of students smile for the camera.

Starting with a spirited and interactive conversation—joining participant ideas and definitions regarding difference and inclusivity with common, current best practices—this workshop moves into a fun and dynamic small group activity surrounding identity, membership, and belonging, including associated challenges. Together, we will then define our vision for a perfectly inclusive world and work toward ideas and commitments to bring this vision to light. Wrapping up, we will reveal a specific commitment from each participant that is conceived in a very special format, bringing the workshop to a very comprehensive pin point of knowledge, ideas, and realistic future action steps.

Navigating Diversity Backlash

Student smile and make peace signs for the camera.

Efforts to dismantle inequities can sometimes be misinterpreted for exclusion. This workshop is an interactive conversation about why there is resistance to equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and how to work through the backlash. Learners will engage in dialogue and activities (role-play is one) to come away with strategies on how to address diversity backlash when they are faced with resistance to their work in social and racial justice.

Privilege: Who Has It and Why?

Four high school students having a discussion.

When we talk about privilege we usually are talking about the power and advantage that only specific groups of people have, usually because of their wealth or even their race and/or gender, but the conversation doesn’t stop there. In this workshop we will expand on privilege, dig down to its core and explore how we can use it for the greater good.

Restorative Justice 101

Students sit in a circle talking.

We will practice a community building circle, and discuss the unique and dynamic ways circles are used in schools to change climate and culture. You will then do a brief activity that demonstrates the influence of perspective. You will learn how restorative practices eliminate the power differential between people, which creates equity in conflict and discipline situations. The training is interactive, relevant, and fun.

Restorative Practices in Schools: Closing the Equity Gap

Students sit in a circle talking.

We will practice a community building circle, and discuss the unique and dynamic ways circles are used in schools to change climate and culture. You will then do a brief activity that demonstrates the influence of perspective. You will learn how restorative practices eliminate the power differential between people, which creates equity in conflict and discipline situations. The training is interactive, relevant, and fun.

Social Justice? Intersectionality? Say What?

Students sit in a circle and discuss.

This workshop is an introduction to what social justice means and how to use intersectionality as a framework for understanding and dismantling forms of oppression. We’ll discuss how to accurately use terms; learn exactly what racism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, etc. mean; and how -isms are not a two-way street. There will also be dialogue around the concept of ally-ship and what each of you can do to make a difference. There will be a lot of pictures, some videos, fun activities, and plenty of time to share.

Sports for Everyone

Stereotypes, socioeconomics, and gender equality are all factors that affect our social lives—including sports and athletics. What does acceptance look like in today’s world? We’ll have an engaging discussion on how we all play a role in making athletics and sports inclusive for everyone.

Teaching Controversial Topics in the Classroom

Lori Mable leads a workshop on teaching controversial issues.

In an increasingly polarized society, teachers may be hesitant to address or bring controversial topics into their lesson plans for fear of retaliation by parents, school administrators or others.  Discussion of controversial topics in the classroom is necessary for students to explore and address the social issues in their worlds, as well as their schools, and to bring youth-generated solutions to these problems. This workshop provides strategies you can use to bring controversial subjects in your classroom while ensuring they are presented in an even-handed manner that will resonate with students, parents and administrators regardless of their political beliefs.

Telling Your Story

Students smile at the camera.

Join the City of Denver’s Chief Storyteller for a session on how to craft and tell stories in a captivating way.  We’ll explore how we can all use storytelling to find our voice, express our identity and share our passion for positive social change.

The Story of Your Name

A student speaks.

From their inception, names are embedded with meaning and coded with identity, and over time, they become layered with nuance and memory. Name stories can provide us with a set of communication and interpersonal tools that address racial and ethnic disparities. Join this workshop to explore the power behind the story of your name.

Unpacking Gender

This workshop will challenge your perceptions and understandings of gender through a cisgendered lens. Ideally, you will walk away with new language, how to better implement strategies for inclusion within your spaces and additionally understand how privilege, power and oppression takes place among trans* folxs.

We Hold These Truths: How Diverse and Inclusive is Your US History Curriculum?

A workshop presenter leads a conversation.

US History classes across the country vary widely in the content, curriculum, and events they include and exclude. Often, it’s up to students and teachers to take initiative to teach and learn accurate, inclusive history courses in which our country’s history is not sugar-coated and people of all races and backgrounds are represented. In order to fully understand our present, students must gain a full understanding of our nation’s past, no matter how uncomfortable learning that history may be. This workshop, led by a history teachers and students, will help high school students stretch their learning beyond the textbook to make sense of our past and present. We will analyze our own history class experiences and then identify and develop plans for learning and teaching a more inclusive US History curriculum.

Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Victory

Many people don’t know that, for the first time in Colorado’s history, eligible 17-year-olds will be able to vote in 2020! Join us for a collaborative, exciting workshop during which we’ll explore: why voting matters, barriers to voting, how to become the vote captain of your community and build a powerful movement, and the crucial role 17-year-olds will play in the 2020 elections.