Leaving a Legacy: Student Action Projects

Posted by Jason David on May 19, 2022

This is the fifth story in our series, “A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools.” This week, seniors at Animo Jackie Robinson are formally presenting their Student Action Projects, the culminating act of their Ethnic Studies course and a rich high school learning trajectory that emphasizes upstanding and community engagement. Ethnic Studies teacher Jasmin Gonzalez describes not only how students complete this challenging project, but how it takes an entire school community and coordinated, vertical planning to pull it off. While the experience is uniquely envisioned and carried out by Animo Jackie Robinson, the connections to Facing History’s focus on upstanding, core pedagogical approach, and support for interdisciplinary learning stand out as core elements that make our partner schools a dream to work with. 

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Topics: Choosing to Participate, Upstanders, student activism, interdisciplinary, action project

Memorializing as Upstanding: Culminating an Interdisciplinary Unit on the Holocaust

Posted by Jason David on May 12, 2022

This is the fourth story in our series, “A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools.” Cleveland Humanities Magnet has a long history of innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous educational programming. Upon joining the Facing History Los Angeles Partnership School Network four years ago, two 12th-grade teachers attended a summer seminar on the Holocaust and Human Behavior. Victor Silva teaches the historical anchor of an interdisciplinary unit that combines philosophy, literature and digital humanities. He has also developed a remarkable memorial project that challenges his students to go beyond learning and consider how they will ensure this history is not forgotten.

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Topics: Memorials, Memory, Memorial, Upstander, Holocaust and Human Behaviour, unit, interdisciplinary

Reconstruction: Uncovering the True Story and Its Legacy Today

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 10, 2022

This guest blog is part of a series, “A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools.” Much like his Valor Academy colleague Ben Katcher, who published a prior post on teaching The Nanjing Atrocities, first-year history teacher Elijah Falk has developed a powerful unit that challenges students to make contemporary connections to historical injustices and grapple with the ways in which pivotal events in history have been distorted. His unit on The Reconstruction Era exemplifies how accurate portrayals of and deep engagement with history can illuminate the importance of choices students make in their everyday lives. 

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Topics: Reconstruction, History, Civil War, Judgement and Legacy, Slavery, white supremacy, racial justice, agency, unit, abolition

A Community of One: The Fight for Connection in a Pandemic

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 3, 2022

This guest blog is part of a series, “A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools.” Probably the most important and consistent focus of our collaboration with our partner schools, developing and maintaining a strong school culture and community has been tricky under the conditions of the pandemic. In this honest reflection, New LA Middle School principal Gabrielle Brayton wrestles with how easily educators take for granted that students see community as an inherent value. She asks, in this moment where many have contracted their Universe of Obligation, how can educators make the case that students should care and look out for each other?

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Topics: Universe of Obligation, Restorative Justice, Community, Middle School, pandemic, relationships

The Nanjing Atrocities: A Murder Mystery

Posted by Guest Blogger on April 28, 2022

This guest blog is part of a series, “A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools.” Each of our partner schools has at least one unit-length Facing History case study that every student experiences on their path to graduation. At Valor Academy High School, there are numerous Facing History units. Ben Katcher’s unit on the Nanjing Atrocities has long stood out to us because while this is a particular event that is often unknown and untaught, it nevertheless touches on so many critical universal themes that students find relevant and compelling. We invited Ben to share about his approach. 

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Topics: International Justice, The Nanjing Atrocities, Socratic Seminar, classroom lesson, Lesson Ideas, responsibility

A Network of Innovation: Ideas, Questions, and Wisdom from our LA Partner Schools

Posted by Jason David on April 26, 2022

Over the next four weeks, we will be using this blog to feature a range of voices, ideas, and curricular projects within our Los Angeles Partners School Network. This network of partner schools in the Los Angeles area, ranging from South LA to the northeast San Fernando Valley, and from East LA to Mid City, represents some of our most in-depth collaboration with educators and schools. The educators and school leaders have much to share about innovative programming, building whole school culture, and creatively navigating challenges. We hope you enjoy their stories, feel inspired and find great ideas. 

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Topics: School Culture, Innovative Classrooms, Los Angeles, Learning, reflection, Powering Up Facing History Lessons, partner, series, network

Learning and Unlearning

Posted by Liz Vogel on March 30, 2022

I first joined Facing History and Ourselves in 2001 because it felt like the kind of education I craved but never had. We didn’t talk about things that mattered when I was in school. And while my single mother sacrificed much to prioritize my education, there wasn’t much space for self-reflection at home. One year I won the Black History Month essay contest hosted by our local AME Church, but we never spoke about how deeply segregated our tiny New Jersey shore town was, or why I never socialized with my Black friends outside of school.

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Reflections on 20 years

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 24, 2022

Facing History opened its Los Angeles office in 1994.

Over the past 28 years, we’ve supported a growing network of teachers across Southern California, cultivated strong community partnerships, and witnessed multiple generations of students apply the lessons of Facing History to step into leadership in their communities and beyond.

This Spring, the faces many of you have come to recognize as Facing History will change, but the work will continue with an incredible team locally and globally. 

Before leaving Facing History, Liz Vogel, Executive Director and Mary Hendra, Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation, sat down together to share memories and hopes for Facing History.

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Topics: Facing History and Ourselves, Los Angeles

Creating a More Compassionate, Thoughtful World

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 16, 2022

Over the years, I have had the honor of sharing many thoughts and resources on this Learn+Teach+Share blog. This one is a bit more personal. 

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Topics: Los Angeles

Announcing: A GALLERY of Upstanders!

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 24, 2021

Have you ever wished you could share stories of inspiration with young people about individuals they might connect with and relate to? The stories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dolores Huerta, Bayard Rustin, Anna May Wong and others are amazing, but sometimes they can feel inaccessible as role models. At least, it feels a little overwhelming to go from where we are now, to what they achieved, without a deep dive into their journeys. 

We have a gift for you!

Each year, Los Angeles area Facing History partnership schools cultivate a culture of upstanding, and celebrate that upstanding at the end of the year by recognizing actions taken by middle and high school students. This year, we're thrilled to share that recognition in an online gallery! And below, a few ways to use it with young people, whether your students or simply individuals you seek to inspire.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

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This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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