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Professional Development

Bridging Cultures Between Home and School Institute: Understanding Cultural Differences for Student Success

Work effectively with students and families whose cultural backgrounds stress the value of collaboration and group effort above individual academic achievement. Participate in our Bridging Cultures one-day institute, designed to connect with participants’ experiences of their own and others’ culture.

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What You Will Learn

How does your own cultural frame of reference influence your perceptions? What happens when students from collaborative backgrounds come up against a school culture based on individualism? Understanding collaborative values can help school staff become more effective with students and families from non-mainstream backgrounds.

Participants in Bridging Cultures Institutes will:

  • Learn about and apply a framework* for understanding cultural differences
  • Develop a deeper understanding of their own cultural assumptions
  • Explore ways that the Bridging Cultures framework can be useful in working with students and families

More specifically, participants will learn how to:

  • Support meaningful education experiences that build on the cultural assets brought by students and families from collaborative backgrounds
  • Design instruction and assessment that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for non-individualistic students
  • Use effective and culturally appropriate classroom management strategies
  • Support meaningful parent involvement in their children’s education

* The Bridging Cultures conceptual framework provides a key to understanding why school and family values can conflict and simultaneously provides a foundation on which to build more effective educational practices.

Who Will Benefit

  • School and District Leaders, K–12
  • Classroom Teachers, preK–12
  • Counseling Staff, Paraprofessionals, and School Support Staff who work across cultures
  • Policymakers
  • Parents and Community Members

Service Details

Bridging Cultures one-day institutes are scheduled on request and take place at your site. The institute is interactive and designed to connect with participants’ experiences of their own and others’ cultures.

In addition to learning a conceptual framework that helps illuminate important cultural differences, you will have opportunities to work in small groups as you develop new understandings, and to explore applications to your own education settings.

You will receive a variety of readings drawn from Bridging Cultures publications and other sources. As a participant, you can also purchase these Bridging Cultures publications at a 20% discount:

What Makes This Service Unique

Most cross-cultural professional development addresses the needs and beliefs of individuals from specific cultures, for example, Mexican, African American, Asian. The Bridging Cultures* conceptual framework, on the other hand, provides a more universal understanding of cultural differences that can be applied in multiple situations.

The Bridging Cultures Institute provides participants an opportunity to consider the way their own cultural backgrounds play into the way they perceive and work with others who make different cultural assumptions. In addition to presenting Bridging Cultures research, the institute is highly interactive and engages all participants in active learning.

* Bridging Cultures was developed by Elise Trumbull, Carrie Rothstein-Fisch, Patricia M. Greenfield, and a team of classroom teachers with support from WestEd. For more information on the origin of the service, please visit the Bridging Cultures project page.


The cost for a one-day Bridging Cultures Institute at your site for a maximum of 50 participants is $2,700. All materials are supplied by WestEd. Presenter travel expenses are not included in the institute fee.

Learn More

To arrange a Bridging Cultures Institute and/or to learn more about the institute, please contact Margit Birge at or 510.302.4213.