CR-S Education Framework

The Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education framework helps educators create student-centered learning environments that: affirm racial, linguistic and cultural identities; prepare students for rigor and independent learning, develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference; elevate historically marginalized voices; and empower students as agents of social change.


The four principles of CR-S are:

  • Welcoming and Affirming Environment 
  • High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction 
  • Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment 
  • Ongoing Professional Learning


Additional information regarding the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education framework can be found on the New York State Department of Education's Web site.

What is Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education?

  • Culturally responsive-sustaining education is about teaching the students in front of you. Our students are at a greater advantage when we understand who they actually are and not who we assume them to be.
  • Culturally responsive education is sustainable when :
    • A climate is created to support the academic performance of all students.
    • Shared responsibility of trust and respect is fostered between school and families
    • Educators and district stakeholders engage in continual learning and critical conversations on areas of equity, anti-bias, and cultural pedagogies.

What is the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Framework? Why now?

  • Culture is an asset
  • Responsibility of education is to prevent exclusion AND promote the perpetuation of cultures of marginalized groups
  • Framework to support education stakeholders in developing &  implementing policies to educate ALL students
  • Grounded in 4 principles: (1)welcoming and affirming environment, (2)high expectations and rigorous instruction, (3)inclusive curriculum and assessment, (4) ongoing professional learning

What do students gain when culturally responsive-sustaining education guides our education system?

  • An understanding of the relationship between culture and education.
  • An opportunity to leverage their culture as an asset.
  • A strengthened foundation of rigor and innovative learning.
  • Role models in the school community who recognize their strengths and opportunities.
  • The ability to be agents of positive social change.

Why should schools focus on the cultures of their students?

  • Student-Centered
    • By making all cultures matter, our students’ cultures can be positioned as strengths and as the foundation of empowering, rigorous, and innovative learning.
    • When teaching is not rooted in students’ lives, student learning suffers, biases take hold, and deficit perspectives become normalized.
  • Components of Identity and Culture
    • Identity = race, economic background, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, and ability.
    • Culture = cuisines, art, music, celebrations, values, forms of expression, ways of thinking
  • Schools are a meeting point for culture and education (for children and adults)
  • Multi-Tiered approach for cultural inclusion

What are the four principles of the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Framework?

  1. Welcoming and Affirming Environment
  2. High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction
  3. Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment
  4. Ongoing Professional Learning

How does implementing CR-S improve your school community as a whole?

  • Treating Diversities as assets for teaching and learning
  • All families have “cultural capital” to be used in classrooms
  • Develop meaningful, sustaining relationships with students, families and communities
  • Understanding of cultures should refocus lens through which cultures are viewed
  • Position cultures as strengths and as the foundation for learning