Dr. Thornton’s approach to Critical Professional Learning (Kohli, et al., 2015) recognizes that in order for students to have an engaging, thought-provoking, and inspiring learning environment, teachers must have the same. This approach values the expertise, needs, and interests of teachers so that learning and curriculum design are the result of a co-created process, not top-down professional learning.

Using principles of adult learning and teacher development, the Theory-Reflection-Practice© model, was designed with methods that are imperative for transformational learning experiences. When addressing issues of race, culture, and identity in schooling, the work should be continuous, reflective, and equity-focused. Dr. Thornton is committed to being in relationship with schools and organizations so that knowledgeable, just, and thoughtful educators are supported with culturally relevant (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994) and humanizing (Carter-Andrews & Castillo, 2016; Salazar, 2013) teaching and learning.

During sessions, educators can expect to engage in critical dialogue, reflective exercises that support asset-based beliefs and practices, and an exploration of equitable learning practices that meet the needs of their students and focus on equitable outcomes for all students.

Critical Professional Learning Model


Each session highlights the research and insights of scholars and practitioners of color


Educators engage in critical self-reflection in order to examine and shift deficit beliefs and practices


Educators make connections between theory and practice, based on their school contexts

“We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs.”

Dr. Lisa Delpit


Critical Professional Learning Sessions

Our sessions cover a range of topics related to cultural relevance and literacy instruction. Each session is designed using the T-R-P Framework and participants will complete a T-R-P Plan to document learning and next steps for classroom, school, or district level implementation.

Session topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Transforming Eduction Through a Culturally Relevant Lens
  • Cultivating Language: Home Language is Where the Heart Is
  • Multicultural & Anti-Racist Literature
  • Culturally Relevant Classrooms: Purpose & Rigor
  • Creating Space for Critical Conversations
  • Teaching the Reader, Not a Level


Curriculum Design; Critical Content Area Literacy Design

We work with teachers, instructional coaches, and district instructional leaders to co-create Content Area Literacy plans to teach Science and Social Studies standards in culturally relevant ways that recognize the diversity, honor the rich histories, and connect to the current events in our society.

During these  work sessions, educators can expect to:

  • Explore diverse children’s and young adult literature
  • Identify literacy engagements that build upon and value the literacy experiences and linguistic resources of students
  • Embed multi-modal activities that meet the diverse needs of learners
  • Integrate strategies that support students’ reading and writing development and allow for deep learning of the content area.

Culturally Relevant Literacy Audit

Our Culturally Relevant Literacy Audit helps educators and schools examine their literacy beliefs, practices, and student outcomes in order to improve literacy learning and development, and to ensure that literacy instruction is equitable and representative of students’ identities and reflects the diversity in society.

This service is for schools and districts who are looking to:

  • Shift literacy teaching and learning to foster authentic growth and development for students
  • Foster a culture that shapes the beliefs and practices of teachers around culturally relevant beliefs and approaches
  • Facilitate the growth of teachers and instructional coaches to lead culturally relevant teaching and learning in their schools