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Identity Safe Classrooms, Grades K-5


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond Acknowledgments About the Authors Part I. Getting Started Chapter 1. Welcome to Readers Chapter 2. How to Use This Book Part II. Child-Centered Teaching Chapter 3. Listening for Students' Voices Chapter 4. Teaching for Understanding Chapter 5. Focus on Cooperation Chapter 6. Classroom Autonomy Part III. Cultivating Diversity as a Resource Chapter 7. Using Diversity as a Resource for Teaching Chapter 8. High Expectations and Academic Rigor Chapter 9. Challenging Curriculum Part IV. Classroom Relationships Chapter 10. Teacher Warmth and Availability to Support Learning Chapter 11. Positive Student Relationships Part V. Caring Classrooms Chapter 12. Teacher Skill Chapter 13. Emotional and Physical Comfort Chapter 14. Attention to Prosocial Development Epilogue Index

About the Author

Dorothy M. Steele, Ed.D. is the former Executive Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. She is an early childhood educator who is interested in public schools including teaching practices that are effective for diverse classrooms, alternative assessment processes that inform teaching and learning, and strategies that build inclusive communities of learners in schools. Her work with the Stanford Integrated Schools Project was an attempt to look at these various aspects of schooling in a large urban school district. Dr. Steele began her work with teachers and children in 1968 in Columbus, OH as the Director/Teacher of one of the city's first Head Start Programs. During the 1970's, she served as the Curriculum Coordinator for the City of Seattle's Children's Programs, an early childhood teacher educator, a parent educator, and, for eight years, the director of a large, university-based child care center. In 1987, Dr. Steele began her doctoral work in early childhood education and, with her advisor, developed an alternative assessment process for early childhood education, the Work Sampling System that is being used throughout the world. Her dissertation explored the negative impact of standardized tests on Kindergarten teachers' educational decisions for their students. Dorothy Steele received her AB degree in music from Hiram College, Hiram, OH in 1967; the MA in Early Childhood Education from the Ohio State University in 1971; and an Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan in 1994. She lives in Stanford, CA with her husband, Claude M. Steele. Their family includes a son and daughter and their spouses and two energetic and loving preschool-aged boys who make life ever more sweet. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ed. D. is currently the director of Not In Our School, designing curriculum, coaching schools and producing films and digital media on models for creating safe and inclusive schools, free of bullying and intolerance at a national non-profit the Working Group. She also is teaching online courses on bullying prevention for the University of San Diego. Becki worked in educational settings for over 35 years as a teacher and administrator. Dr. Cohn-Vargas began her career in early childhood education at the West Santa Rosa Multicultural Center in rural Sonoma County, California in 1975. She did community service in Central America in the Guatemalan Highlands and later in the Preschool Department of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education. She then returned to California and worked as a bilingual teacher and principal in Oakland, a Curriculum Director in the Palo Alto, and most recently as Superintendent-Principal of a one-school district in San Jose. She also worked as a staff developer for the Child Development Program of the Developmental Studies Center. In each of these settings, she focused on developing, implementing effective teaching strategies for diverse student populations and creating environments that promoted educational equity. In 2003, she learned of the research on identity safety with the SISP project and designed a follow-up study with a group of elementary school teachers. Her doctoral dissertation focused on identifying, describing, and implementing identity safety. Becki Cohn-Vargas received a Bachelor's degree and teaching credential at Sonoma State University, a masters in education at California State University, East Bay and her doctorate at Fielding Graduate University. Dr, Cohn-Vargas and her husband live in El Sobrante, California and have three adult children living in the Bay Area. With her husband Rito Vargas, Dr. Cohn-Vargas is also working to develop an environmental research center on their private reserve in the Nicaraguan rain forest.


"In this timely, engaging, and needed book, Steele and Cohn-Vargas describe creative and captivating ways in which teachers can construct identity safe classrooms in which students from diverse racial, social, economic, and linguistic groups can learn and flourish. The voices of classroom teachers that are interwoven throughout the book enliven and enrich it, as well as make it especially appealing and helpful to teachers and other school practitioners. A unique strength of this book is the way in which it effectively and seamlessly blends theory, research, and the wisdom of practice of veteran teachers. It deserves a wide audience." -- James A. Banks. Founding Director
"The authors combine their scholarship, experience, and wisdom in this amazing book. We all want to know: How can we help students enjoy school and become eager learners? Educators, read this book and find out!" -- Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology
"Identity Safe Classrooms is an indispensable resource for every school and educator interested in ensuring a robust and equitable education for all of our nation's youth. Steele and Cohn-Vargas help us understand, in clear and compelling ways, how students' opportunity to learn and the identity they develop as learners is inextricably tied to the learning contexts of which they are a part. This timely and pragmatic book thoughtfully lays out a new vision of education with design principles for inclusive, respectful, and rigorous classroom environments that promote expansive and culturally validating forms of learning." -- Kris D. Gutierrez, Inaugural Provost Chair, Professor of Learning Sciences and Literacy

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