On building cultural competence


As I reflect on our new Mission Statement and consider the types of leaders we aspire to cultivate at Colorado Academy, the Six Cs are such an integral part of who we are. CA works to incorporate critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, character, and cultural competence in all that students do. The last one of those 21st century skills—cultural competence—really resonates with me as I consider our ongoing efforts around inclusivity.

Across the divisions, teachers seamlessly integrate the Six Cs into their daily practice, and I began to consider how might parents partner in strengthening their child’s cultural competence. Where is the intersection between cultural competence and our new Mission Statement?

Continuous Opportunity to Connect

Elena Aguilar, the author of Onward, suggests that individuals who are kind, courageous, and leaders of their communities need continuous opportunity to connect to the present moment in order to more quickly identify their own habits, fears, or wishful thinking.

Mindfulness is a wonderful way to give pause to the things that are occurring in our daily lives. While it is often seen as an internal button for shifting the emotional cycles of life, the capacity to acknowledge our feelings and move through them, it is also a valuable tool for building our cultural competence.

Less Reactionary

Mindfulness is the very thing that enhances an individual’s ability to uncover any unconscious bias in order to interrupt it. It trains our minds to become less reactionary. By doing so we are able to respond to situations with intentionality by taking on multiple perspectives and increasing our level of empathy.

When we hit the pause button, either at school or at home, we teach our minds and bodies to release distractions and engage in the moment. How do we increase our level of mindfulness? Remember, a little goes a long way. You can take a few minutes every day to focus on your breath or even try a sitting meditation. It’s something more and more educators use in their classrooms or between transitions, and I invite you to try it at home. Check out Elena Aguilar’s meditations—most less than five minutes. Try one with your children and see what happens. Or, if you prefer a good book, here are some titles that I recommend.

Lower School

A Handful of Quiet

Meddy Teddy

Breathe Like a Bear

I Am Peace


Master of Mindfulness

The Mindful Teen