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Competency-based education (CBE) is not inherently responsive and sustaining to students’ racial, cultural, and social identities. It’s up to *us* to make it that way. Schools and districts across New York City are making shifts in practice based on Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings’s groundbreaking 1990s work on culturally relevant pedagogy. Dr. Ladson-Billings’s 3 pillars (Academic Success, Cultural Competence, Critical Consciousness) are at the heart of today’s feld of culturally responsive-sustaining education (CRSE). Join this session for insights from a recent study of Competency Collaborative schools by NYU Metro Center. Learn how Dr. Ladson-Billings’s 3 pillars support us in responding to and sustaining learners’ racial, cultural, social identities (CRSE) as we use CBE shifts. This work changes how we learn/unlearn, plan/prep, build/deepen racial literacy, and collaborate to serve students and families more effectively. Time allowing, we’ll create learning outcomes for the 3 pillars. Let’s work together to move the field of CBE to a new place.

Session Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand how CBE and CRSE can work together in youth-centered learning.
  2. Discover ways to address young people not only as learners (using CBE), but also to respond to and sustain their racial, cultural, and social identities (using CRSE).
  3. Create CRSE learning outcomes that go beyond subject areas, so learners get support in developing what Zaretta Hammond calls ultimate higher-order thinking skills.


  • Joy Nolan, Competency Collaborative (formerly Mastery Collaborative)
  • Meg Stentz, Competency Collaborative (formerly Mastery Collaborative)