2 months ago

February 2018 Edition of Envision Equity


ENVISION EQUITY FEBRUARY 2018 A Multicultural Curriculum That Encompasses HIStory and Promotes Social Justice for All By Robert Gunn—Principal W.E.B. DuBois Academy A s the proud new principal of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy, I have enjoyed the opportunity to hold countless conversations with individuals regarding the need for, and misperceptions about, this innovative program. Our middle school program starts with 150 sixth graders in August and will grow to 450 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders over the next three years. Each young man we serve will receive rigorous instruction and support to help him succeed in the classroom and in life. Research shows that if we are to close the achievement and opportunity gaps, students must feel a sense of belonging at school, be engaged with lessons taught in the Above, Principal Gunn speaks to parents at the Showcase of Schools. Photo, Abdul Sharif. classroom, and see themselves reflected in the curriculum. As an African-American male, my K–12 educational experience lacked these research-based practices, especially seeing myself or other minorities and cultures reflected in the curriculum. Outside of every February, where we discussed Dr. King and Rosa Parks and had a one-day Black History Month “celebration,” there was very little discussion about prominent individuals of color (male or female) who positively impacted our nation. I was taught that the history of my ancestors began when they arrived in America on ships that brought 16 Continue on next page

ENVISION EQUITY FEBRUARY 2018 them from Africa. The extent of the conversation about slavery in the United States was that it was “bad.” At the W.E.B. DuBois Academy, our staff will intentionally ensure that daily instructional content and culturally responsive pedagogy will eliminate the educational malfeasance I experienced as a student. Unapologetically, we reject the type of education I received and aim to educate and equip the young Kings of the DuBois Academy to be agents of change in our community. The goal of our curriculum begins with detailing a complete history from multiple lenses and cultural perspectives, not just one dominant, Euro-centric narrative. In order to improve the systems and structures of our nation and not further perpetuate past mistakes, our young men must be exposed to the fact that history is littered with discriminatory practices that have marginalized members of minority groups. Additionally, our young men must learn that throughout this same history, there have been individuals who look like them, along with some men and women who do not, who have fought tirelessly to lead change in countless professional fields, not just cotton fields, as some textbooks claim. As Dr. Marshall often states, “Until Hidden Figures are no longer hidden, our curriculum is failing kids.” In addition, to ensure that entire histories and perspectives are exposed and “hidden figures” are revealed, our curriculum is intended to teach young men how to defend, discuss, debate, and think critically. Teaching these academic skills coupled with our P.R.I.D.E. values (Perseverance, Resilience, Initiative, Discipline, and Empathy) will allow us to meet the goal of equipping young men to be leaders of change for us all. The following quote from former United States Secretary of Education John King sums this up beautifully: “I am convinced we will make better choices when we grapple with history in all its complexity—the ugliness and the glory—and when we commit ourselves to increasing equity and opportunity for all.” OnePride. OneBrotherhood. 17

2018 Black History Month Edition
December 2017 Envision Equity
November 2017 Edition
October 2017 Envision Equity
February 2017 Battery of Programs
Envision Equity: February 2017 Edition
Envision Equity Special Edition January 2017
Envision Equity - December 2016 Special Homeless Education Edition