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ERIC Number: EJ774115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Creating a Climate of Trust
Pfeifer, R. Scott; Polek, Mag
Principal Leadership, v8 n1 p36-40 Sep 2007
The trouble started when an anonymous e-mail alleged abuse of power at Centennial High School in Howard County, Maryland. Each week, the local paper reported new developments in the investigation. On top of that, the family of a Black student reported that a culture of racism existed at Centennial. At the end of the year, members of the community and the board of education held a meeting to discuss the issues at the school. The packed meeting deteriorated into a name-calling, shouting match tinged with charges of racism at worst and racial insensitivity at best. When the existing principal retired suddenly during the turmoil, the superintendent expected the new principal to make cultural proficiency his first priority. But how can a school become culturally proficient when parents and students do not know whether diversity is truly valued? The school community had to begin building cultural proficiency from the ground up. The administrators adopted several key elements as the scaffolding for the process: (1) building trust; (2) increasing diversity among staff members; (3) learning about cultural proficiency and its guiding principles; and (4) identifying a champion to lead the way. The English department became a model for the school as it furthered the culturally inclusive curriculum. Trust and a focus on the principles of culturally proficient schools combined to put Centennial back on track.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland