Social Justice Everyday
Studies have shown that culturally relevant instruction is vital for the academic success of African American and other children who have not been well served by public schools. This means that the instruction they receive should help them to examine cultural norms and values and critique institutions that produce and maintain social inequities. Students in culturally relevant classrooms engage the world and others critically.
Carrboro Elementary received an innovation grant to support their “Social Justice Everyday” work. The work of this grant focuses on students’ building socio political awareness and political consciousness using Social Justice Teaching Standards. The research is clear that this element of culturally relevant teaching is necessary in classrooms and dual language programs.
The grant allowed planning teams to do the work of writing/editing the instructional plans for the social studies units. The funding covered the cost of substitutes for two days, thus freeing up two social studies teachers at each grade level. These planning days also included the instructional coaches, librarian, and administrators, at least part of the day, with each grade level.
About the Project:
Their project is a continuation of innovative work that began three years ago when Carrboro Elementary School faculty wrote new curriculum units integrating social studies with literacy. The goal was to create engaging lessons that would grow a social justice consciousness that supports young students to critique the world around them. Some amazing lessons that have been a part of this curriculum:
- Lessons on the achievements of women, African Americans, Latinos and other minorities.
- Socratic Seminars for grades 3-5 that focused on social justice issues connected to grade level standards. For example, third graders study local history and they have a Socratic Seminar debating changing the name of Carrboro, after learning about the history of Julian Carr.
- Fourth graders focus on North Carolina history and they learn about the Trail of Tears and the controversy surrounding Silent Sam.
- Fifth graders focus on US history up to the Civil War, and they dig deep into the history of abolitionists and suffragettes, as well as Native American cultures before the Europeans. They participate in Socratic Seminars ranging from Native American mascots for sports teams to the government response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
- All students K-5, engage in a unit on African American change-makers in art, music, writing, sports, leadership, science and innovation. Thus students are educated and supported to examine cultural norms and the institutions that – produce and maintain social inequities.
About FSA Innovation Grants:
FSA Innovation Grants exist to fund great ideas in FSA zone elementary or middle schools. In order to receive this one-time grant of up to $2500 your idea must align one of FSA goals. If you would like to apply for an Innovation Grant fund contact Meredith McMonigle.
GOAL 1: Children are Healthy and Prepared for School
- Healthy births
- Access to early learning supports
- Developmentally-appropriate readiness for school
GOAL 2: Children and Youth are Healthy and Succeed in School
- Student grade-level reading proficiency
- School discipline outcomes
- Communities support the mental health of children, youth, and their families
GOAL 3: Families, Neighborhoods and Institutions Support the Healthy Development of Children
- Parents, caregivers, and youth serve as change leaders
- Communities build children’s language skills for reading
- Families move out of poverty and are financially stable
- Families have a medical and dental home
- Community institutions support equitable outcomes for all children
This “Social Justice Everyday” work aligns with FAS’s goal of increasing the number of students at or above grade level in 3rd and 8th grade as well ties to FSA’s equity collective impact goal.