The Michigan Department of Education launched Cohort 4 of Phase 1 of The African American Student Initiative (TAASI): A Journey of Cultural Proficiency and Personal Transformation. Schools are invited to participate in this 6-session professional learning opportunity that works to close the achievement gap for systemically marginalized groups in Michigan. More specifically, this phase of the initiative is designed as PRE-work to “help [educators] to recognize and honor their own cultural beliefs and practices while acquiring access to the wider culture” (Ladson-Billings, 2006, p.36). Our journey of cultural competency/proficiency will allow educators space reflect as well as to learn and dialogue about topics that are central to promoting cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cultural proficiency is about learning to respect our own and other’s identities, celebrating cultural differences, mitigating marginalization, disparities, and disproportionality while systemically integrating behaviors that establish standards for practices that promote cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Topics Include:

  • Overview of program: debate, discuss, dialogue protocol
  • Barriers and guiding principles of cultural proficiency; cultural continuum
  • Systems of oppression; Race and privilege; Unconcious bias; Microaggressions
  • Assessing culture; Valuing diversity
  • Manage dynamics of difference; adapt to diversity
  • Institutionalize cultural knowledge


  • Who: School level teams of three or four people (i.e., building leadership, teacher/teacher leader, counselor, nurse, parent/family liaison, etc.). Please note that superintendent support is required at the time of application.
  • Cost: Registration is free for schools that are one of the listed as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI), Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) or Additional Targeted Support (ATS). All other registrants will be required to pay a fee of $20 per person per session. FREE SCECHs included.

Battle Creek Dates

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. a the Kool Family Community Center, 200 Michigan Ave W., Battle Creek, MI 49017; lunch is included.

  • September 24
  • October 29
  • November 19
  • January 28
  • February 25
  • March 24

East Lansing Dates

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Golf & Banquet Center, 15500 Chandler Rd., East Lansing MI 48823; lunch is included.

  • September 25
  • October 30
  • November 20
  • January 29
  • February 26
  • March 25

Livonia Dates

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the VisTaTech Center Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia, MI 48152; lunch is included.

  • September 26
  • October 31
  • November 21
  • January 30
  • February 27
  • March 26

School principal/leader or district superintendent consent is required for participation. Click below to complete the application form, which is required for participation.


For more information, contact Dr. Theresa Saunders via email or at (517) 241-9566 or Dr. Jill Griffin via email or at (517) 335-3064.