STEM Teaching Tool 95 -- Topics: Equity Implementation Culture

How can STEM education leaders move with community towards culturally affirming and sustaining practices?

  • Email Feedback

Why it Matters to You

Society has inherited and perpetuated a public education system that limits possibilities and reproduces inequities based on identities—including race, ability, and gender. The current system ignores relevant research about what students need to thrive in STEM. STEM education leaders must take up affirming practices that connect to students’ backgrounds and sustain students’ cultures and languages, intentionally challenging accepted practices across decisions and structures. It is imperative that leaders at all levels (local, regional, state, federal) work with communities to support and meaningfully build upon the cultures and histories of students and their families.


By Doug Paulson, Rae McEntyre, Billie Ennes, Megan Schrauben, Jill Griffin, Megan Coonan, & Hillary Barron | August 2023

Reflection Questions

  • How much time have school leaders spent with community members engaged in culturally sustaining professional learning?
  • Which community members and groups participate in decision making? Are they positioned as lateral partners? What barriers exist for those not participating?
  • Who benefits or does not benefit from the policies, practices, systems, and/or structures currently in place?
  • What data is used to monitor implementation of culturally affirming and sustaining practices? How is it collected? How are impacts tracked? How are benefits sustained? How are direct or unintended negative impacts on students mitigated and addressed?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


  • Email Feedback

STEM Teaching Tools content copyright 2014-22 UW Institute for Science + Math Education. All rights reserved.
This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Award #1920249 (previously through Awards #1238253 and #1854059). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.

Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.