JTHS creates culturally responsive blog


Culturally Responsive Education Hub

This infographic highlights the core values, principles, vision, and talking points about culturally responsive education.

Haley Maser, News Editor

JTHS has created a blog dedicated to addressing culturally responsive teaching following Illinois lawmakers’ approval of new teacher training requirements. Found on the district’s website, the blog features posts written by faculty who are considered Culturally Responsive Trainers.

The Illinois State Board of Education’s new standards will affect how teachers are trained and handle diversity in their classrooms. Entitled the culturally responsive teaching and leading standards, the expectations were approved by Illinois’ Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on February 16.

In response to the new teaching standards, the Joliet Township High School District has created a digital blog featuring posts related to diversity and culture in schools. “We believe the blog will provide teachers and staff a location to receive important and relevant information that pertains to continuing to better the culture within OUR district and OUR community!” stated Jeremy Kreiger, a Culturally Responsive Trainer from Joliet West. “The blog will share viewpoints, findings, and updates that will serve the reader with purpose and genuine perspectives.”

According to data from 2019, 50.1% of students identify as Hispanic and 20.6% identify as Black within the JTHS district. Corinne Zimmerman, a Joliet Central teacher and Culturally Responsive Trainer, stated, “The blog is meant to serve as an opportunity for our team to share the knowledge we have gained in our work. Hate has no home at JTHS.”

Found on the JTHS website, the page features short blog posts on topics such as learning amongst COVID-19 and cultural responsiveness in classrooms. Within the webpage, there is a space for readers to submit questions they want to see addressed. 

Each blog post is written by educators in the JTHS district. “There are members of the district who have participated in workshops, professional development opportunities, and/or continue to seek out pertinent information related to cultural responsiveness,” explained Kreiger. Teachers from the West and Central campuses are represented on the page. 

“We are not experts by any means but we are passionate about the work and assuring everyone remains aware and updated on how things can and will change,” Kreiger elaborated. “Furthermore, we are leveraging those experiences to share with co-workers and related staff through different book clubs, podcasts, discussions, and PD sessions. Ultimately, consistent collaboration and communication about improving culture is the focus!”

While the ISBE’s standards continue to be implemented in schools, the JTHS Culturally Responsive Teaching Blog serves as a resource for the community. “I am proud to work in a district that values diversity and is committed to anti-racism,” explained Zimmerman. “I am part of an amazing team of teachers who believe in this work as much as I do.” As some students return to learning in person, COVID-19 related posts are also available to students.