On Wednesday, November 10th, GVASCD proudly hosted Building the Culturally Responsive Classroom. More than just changing the curriculum and resources! This virtual session was led by Lanni Maszerowski, a 5th grade teacher at Brighton Central School District, and Becky Wiggins, a High School English teacher and instructional leader also from Brighton CSD.

One of the main messages from this session was that relationships matter! As educators, we know this, but are we truly modeling this belief day in and day out with our students? Lanni and Becky shared some great strategies to try like, empathy maps, greeting students at the door, remembering to praise the effort and not only the outcome, plus many others that our participants could implement right away! These simple, yet effective ideas can work to build psychological safety in one’s classroom. When students feel safe and seen, it builds motivation for learning and improves behavior.

Another area of focus in building a culturally responsive classroom that our presenters focused on is being ready for difficult conversations. Once your classroom is a safe space, students will likely feel comfortable asking questions and posing topics for conversation that may challenge other’s thinking. The biggest advice shared for this was to plan for these moments. During lesson planning, teachers should think about scenarios that might come up and then how to work through them. One resource shared to support this work was Matthew Kay’s book, Not Light, but Fire.

This session helped bring to life the goals outlined within the NYS Department of Education’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework. In particular, Becky and Lanni provided practical strategies for creating welcoming, student-centered learning environments that affirm identities and prepare students for rigor and independent learning. In response to the great feedback from this session, GVASCD hopes to bring Lanni and Becky back for another session to help us continue to go deeper with this important work!




Updated: Oct 14, 2021



Building the Culturally Responsive Classroom. More than just changing the curriculum and resources!


This workshop will focus on the skills and strategies needed to build learning environments which are responsive to all students. Presenters will share specific examples of changes they’ve made to build and sustain responsive classrooms in both an elementary and secondary setting. Topics to be covered will include:

  1. The power of relationships to leverage instruction and learning

  2. When students want to talk: Navigating difficult conversations around cultural identities, beliefs, and backgrounds.

  3. What would you do???? Scenarios of actual situations from classrooms.

  • You are a middle school teacher in a primarily white school with some religious diversity (mostly Christian but with some Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu). It is September 11th and the third day of school. Students are still getting used to the routines and norms of their new classroom. You notice some confused faces during the announcements when a moment of silence is held for the victims of 9/11. Several students raise their hands and ask questions about the attacks. A Muslim student in your class is visibly nervous during this conversation. What would you do?

  • You are an elementary school teacher. One of your students tells you that they want to be referred to using pronouns that differ from their sex assigned at birth. They ask you not to tell their parents. What would you do?


Participants will learn strategies and be provided with specific protocols that can be utilized at all levels.


Date: November 10, 2021

Time: 4:30- 6:00 PM (virtual)


Registration: $20


Presenters:











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