Culturally Responsive STEM Initiative

About the Culturally Responsive STEM Initiative

STEMteachersNYC is committed to ensuring our programs and efforts reflect the diverse needs and communities of NYC, and address issues of equity and inclusion. In 2018, our teacher-members came together and formed a Culturally Responsive STEM taskforce to identify strategies for supporting STEM educators around the region, and to ensure our workshops address the principles of cultural responsiveness. The taskforce has identified three key projects to take on: (1) Culturally Responsive PD workshops, (2) a CRT Resource Guide and (3) a Leadership Training Framework for our workshop leaders and others interested in school culture change. Please check our workshops page to view and register for upcoming opportunities!

What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?

Culturally Responsive Teaching can be defined as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them. It teaches to and through the strengths of these students. Culturally responsive teaching is the behavioral expressions of knowledge, beliefs, and values that recognize the importance of racial and cultural diversity in learning.  (Geneva Gay, 2010)

Our Guiding Principles

To help ensure STEMteachersNYC programs are culturally responsive and relevant, a teacher-led committee has developed some guiding principles for our workshop leaders to consider:

Establish Inclusion – Consider the diverse needs and assets of STEM teachers who may attend the workshop. Make every effort to group participants with different backgrounds, experiences and subject areas. Consider the context of both students and teachers who are culturally and linguistically diverse, have varied abilities, gender and sexual identities.

Foster Confidence – Empower teachers to share ideas and experiences that build upon existing assets and strengths to build confidence.

Enhance Meaning — Workshop leaders integrate example lessons and activities that draw connections with real-world issues, and build relevancy and motivation for students in a variety of urban, rural and suburban settings.

Responsive and Active Teaching – Workshop leaders use hands-on active learning strategies in both student and teacher mode that consider participants learning needs and styles. The outcomes, content, and activities of the workshop are grounded in a multicultural and everyday context that builds relevancy and motivation for students.

Critical Lens – Workshops leaders use a critical lens to examine and present content and experiences that acknowledge inequities in the education system, and how knowledge is created, for whom and why.

Build Community – Workshops offer a platform to co-create sustainable learning communities focused on improving outcomes for all students and their families, particularly those students who are members of cultural and linguistic minorities.

Join the CRT Task Force!

The Culturally Responsive STEM Committee is a group of teachers who develop teacher-led programs that address issues of equity, inclusion, diversity, and culturally and racially relevant pedagogy in the STEM Classroom.

Past Workshops

Fall 2018:

Culturally Responsive Teaching  by Alisha Ragan and Paul Chin

ELL in STEM: Language Supports for Diverse Learners by Grisel Cordero

Spring 2019:

Recognizing Bias in the STEM Classroom by Caroline Caroline Doherty and Jenny Shen

Underrepresentation of Women in Physics: Strategies for Cultivating a Physics Identity by Cat Garland

Culturally Responsive Meaning-making: How Do Our Students Decide What’s True?  by Elissa Levy and Tegan Morton

Fall 2019

eSTEM: Social Emotional Learning in the STEM Classroom Led by Langston Masingale

Unpacking Bias and Celebrating Inclusion in Your Science Curriculum by Elissa Levy

Fall – Winter 2020

Dimensions of Culturally Responsive Teaching STEM Series



An Inquiry into Science Education, Where the Rubber Meets the Roadby Richard Steinberg

The Truth About Testing: An Educator’s Call to Action by James Popham

Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom by E. Cohen and R. Lotan

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond


InequalityopolyThe Board Game of Structural Racism and Sexism in America. (made using STEAM and Design Thinking)

Critically Conscious Educators Rising (Implicit Bias Training)

Okhee Lee (NYU): Research on ESL/ELL in the science classroom

Translator tool:

Stephen Brookfield Resources on Critical Thinking/Teaching

Black Minds Matter Syllabus

Culturally Situated Design Tools (Lesson Plans)


NSF Roundtable Research on Culturally Responsive STEM

How to avoid known pitfalls associated with culturally responsive instruction

Kicking It Up a Notch: Becoming a Culturally Relevant Science Educator

Reach Your Students with Culturally Responsive STEM Education Methods

Decolonizing Science Reading List by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science

Disruptions in Women’s Self-Promotion: The Backlash Avoidance Model

Diversity Training Doesn’t Work

Stability and Volatility of STEM Career Interest in High School: A Gender Study

The Influence of Role Models on Women’s Career Choices