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.
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.
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.
As LA area schools go back to school, we want to feature the new "Back to School Toolkit" from Facing History. Each day this week, we will showcase one part of the toolkit.
The first days of school are so important for setting the tone of the class. How do you signal to students that you are interested in being in partnership with them?
I recently had the kind of conversation an educator needs at this time of the year.
Claudia Bautista is a dedicated and skilled teacher at Santa Monica High School. She described a group of ninth grade students who took on a service learning project, and in challenging an injustice they saw on their own campus, exemplified youth agency and the promise of civic education.
I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego on the Reconstruction Era; it was a wonderful experience engaging with educators looking to teach US history through the lens of “identity and agency.” There was, of course, so much more I wish we could have covered about this “unfinished revolution;” this pivotal period in US history, that in some sense, “never ended,” as historian Eric Foner describes it.
Into-Action, a large scale pop-up art exhibition addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, opens up in Los Angeles on January 13th.
William Hastie, the first African American to serve as a federal judge, asserted, “Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming, rather than being. It can easily be lost, but never is fully won. Its essence is eternal struggle.”
We’ve been hearing from a number of teachers that one of the key challenges in trying to facilitate conversation about the events in Charlottesville is determining what language to use, particularly in relation to groups and people.
Here are a few recommendations from our conversations:
- Let’s directly engage and confront the issue of white supremacy.