The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

John Madden

Third Advisor

Kyoungehee Seo

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Cultural Competence in Education


This paper is a study of the perceived impact of “Culturally Proficient School Systems,” ISD 191’s professional development training, on Gideon Pond Elementary teachers professionally, toward that of cultural competence. It is my belief that it is imperative that teachers become culturally competent in order for students to have equitable access for success within schools in the United States of America. With the public school student population projected to increase in diversity, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) predicts that % of public school students will be white students in 2024 which is a decline from 51% of student population in 2012 (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). Fifty-five percent of Burnsville, Eagan, Savage district 191’s students report minority status, according to the district’s most recent seat count data, which is an increase of 10% in the last 5 years (Johnson, 2017). At the same time the K-12 educator workforce is 82% white according to The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce 2016 statistics (U.S. Department of Education, 2016).

The basic concepts about teaching and learning a language that are embedded in the Teaching English as a Second Language program degree was the basis for the Culturally Proficient School Systems (CPSS). This is the title of the district-wide professional development training, with its basis set to ensure learning disparities between and amongst student learning groups be eliminated and all students are ready for graduation. Thus, Cultural Proficiency provides a set of tools which allow individuals and organizations to interrelate with people that have different cultural backgrounds. Lindsey et. al. (2015) has narrowed this individual transformational change down into four sets of tools in cultivating Cultural Proficiency. The first one is the Essential Elements of Cultural Competence with which is aligned with social emotional learning competencies. The last three tools are the Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency, Overcoming Barriers to Cultural Proficiency, and The Cultural Proficiency Continuum.

The research findings are bases on the comparison of 11 teacher’s initial “Cultural Competence Self-Assessment” (Lindsey, Nuri-Robis, & Terrell, 2009, pp. 295-296) which was taken in Fall 2016 to a current “Cultural Competence Self-Assessment,” which was taken Spring 2019 using a dependent paired t-tests to determine any statistical difference. Teacher participants were specifically evaluated for their responses to Part # 1 “Assesses Culture,” Part #2 “Values Diversity,” Part #3 “Manages the Dynamics of Difference,” Part #4 “Adapts to Diversity,” and Part #5 “Institutionalizes Cultural Knowledge.” The repeated survey over the course of time was especially critical to see the effect of how CPSS training has impacted teacher’s perception of their journey toward Cultural Competence.

In general, the results of this study indicate that Gideon Pond Elementary teachers perceived impact of CPSS professional development training toward that of cultural competence professionally, felt more confident and successful over time. These statistics shows that teacher’s recognize themselves incorporating cultural knowledge into educational practices. The concept of the “journey” one takes through the “Five Essential Elements of Cultural Competence” found to be accurate. This could be part of their alignment with social emotional learning competencies, which are based off of emotional intelligence toward a mindset of action that reflect professional practices that are culturally proficient.

Altogether, the statistics show that there was a significant statistical difference with valuing diversity, managing the dynamics of difference, and institutionalizing cultural knowledge. These essential elements of cultural proficiency are more about being on the outside looking in. They are more about making things different in the environment that are more tangible which reflect more on one’s interpersonal skills. Whereas the essential elements of cultural proficiency that include assessing culture and adapting to diversity show no statistical difference. These elements are more about reflecting on one’s self, they reflect more on intrapersonal skills and human change which can be uncomfortable.



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