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Virginia Teachers are Going to be Assessed on ‘Cultural Competency’

The state’s new performance standards call on teachers to demonstrate “a commitment to equity” and classroom strategies that result in “culturally inclusive” learning environments. In a March 18, 2021, meeting, Virginia school board members said culturally responsive teaching should also focus on academic performance — with a goal of eliminating achievement gaps between students.

Source: Mercury, K. M. V. (2021, April 1). Virginia teachers are going to be assessed on “cultural competency.” Fauquier Times, PrinceWilliamTimes.Com.

Senate Bill 1196 and House Bill 1904

  • Bills designed to support culturally competent educator workforce.
  • The bills require the following four policy changes in the Commonwealth:
    • Teacher Evaluations shall include cultural proficiency efficacy;
    • Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall complete instruction or training in cultural competency;
    • Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license with an endorsement in history and social science shall complete instruction in African American history, as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education; and
    • Each school board shall adopt and implement policies that require each teacher and any other school board employees holding a license issued by the school board to complete cultural competency training, in accordance with guidance issued by the Board, at least every two years.


  • That no later than December 31, 2021, the Board of Education shall issue guidance that establishes minimum standards for the cultural competency training required pursuant to § 22.1-298.7 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act.
  • That each school board employee who is required to complete a cultural competency training pursuant to § 22.1-298.7 of the Code of Virginia, as created by this act, shall complete at least one such training no later than the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

What does Equity in Education look like today?

Virginia's Roadmap to Equity

The VDOE Navigating EquityVA - Virginia's Roadmap to Equity establishes our education equity priorities, advances tools and resources to support local school divisions, and affirms our commitment to dismantle any and all forms of inequity in Virginia’s public education system.


Picture of four hearts depicting "Centering Equity""Education Equity is achieved when we eliminate the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socioeconomic status or languages spoken at home.

Our definition of education equity is informed by student centered outcome data. More importantly, the definition is measurable and one that we can monitor our progress towards achieving."

~ Navigating EdEquityVA – Virginia’s Roadmap to Equity (PDF) ~

Centering Equity Compass (Virginia's Equity 5Cs)

The five critical competencies necessary to advance education equity in Virginia include: Virginia's Equity Compass is comprised of the 5Cs: Continuous Reflection, Compassionate Student & Family Engagement, Curriculum Reframing, Courageous Leadership, and Cultural Responsiveness.

A detailed explanation of each can be found on the The EdEquityVA Compass (Virginia’s Equity 5Cs) (PDF)

Virginia's Equity Priorities

Closing Opportunity Gaps

Closing opportunity gaps in Virginia schools is the only way we will make progress toward eliminating the academic achievement gaps that separate many Black and Hispanic students from their White and Asian peers.

Tactics for Closing Opportunity Gaps for Virginia Students:

  • Ensuring Academic Rigor and High Expectations for ALL Students Clipart of school bus with the words with the text: Equity VA, Virginia Department of Education
  • Mitigating Enrollment Barriers for Underrepresented Students into Accelerated, Advanced, and Selective, Academic Programs
  • Resourcing Targeted Supports for Students
  • Incentivizing Equitable Assignment of Experienced Teachers
  • Tailoring TA to support Differentiated and Scaled Instruction
  • Evaluating State Levers to Advance Equitable Resource Distribution
  • Ensuring Equitable School Facilities and Technology Resources for ALL Students
  • Developing and Implementing Social Emotional Learning Standards for Virginia
  • Developing and Implementing Accountability for Equitable Educational Opportunities
  • Monitoring & Reporting on Disproportionate Access and Outcome Data (Equity Dashboard

Increasing the Cultural Competency of Virginia's Educator Workforce

Establishing expectations for culturally responsive practice among Virginia’s educator workforce is critical to ensuring inclusive learning environments and equitable outcomes for all students. The following tactics will be used:

  • Increasing Teacher Diversity
  • Supporting Culturally Relevant Teaching Pedagogy
  • Enhancing Teacher Preparation
  • Amending Licensure Requirements to include Cultural Competency
  • Developing new Professional Learning Opportunities
  • Supporting Courageous Leaders
  • Revising Educator Evaluation to include Cultural Competency Efficacy
  • Incorporating Cultural Responsiveness and Inclusion into School Climate Evaluation

Additional Resources

Virginia LEARNS Resources

This spring, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) convened a group of diverse leaders and practitioners from across the Commonwealth to provide expertise into the agency’s next round of guidance for public schools. Called Virginia LEARNS (Leading, Engaging, Assessing, Recovering, Nurturing, Succeeding) (PDF), this workgroup met several times to strategize best practices in addressing the opening of schools to in-person instruction, supporting recovery from unfinished learning, and supporting the social and emotional needs of students and school staff. While the official release of the Virginia LEARNS guidance will take place in mid-April, we wanted to share with you now two resources (also attached below) so that you can begin planning for addressing unfinished learning in the coming months.

VDOE Equity Resources: