Notes from the Director

As we think about the start of the school year, I can’t help but take a minute to pause to take in the rapid pace of change that we are experiencing in our communities, our nation, and the world. This change takes the form of extreme weather, technological innovations, and political decisions that will have short and long term consequences on each of us and the communities within which we work.

This summer, I was grateful to hold space with 25 educators who were exploring Ethnic Studies approaches to instruction. As news headlines emerged, we took a moment to acknowledge them. We shared what we were individually feeling. We anticipated what our students and our school communities were experiencing. And, we reflected on what it meant for the instruction we were planning. And, then we also laughed, and watched soccer, and played loud music.As we start the new year, we are working to hold that space for the teachers we work with so that they, in turn, can hold the space for students.

Now more than ever our history courses give us the opportunity to hone in on the key essential questions that drive our subject matter -- how people come together to sustain themselves through collective organization (6th), how different groups of people meet their needs through interactions across difference (7th), how our nation can reconcile its articulated ideals with the injustice and exploitation inherent to its founding (8th), what past events, processes, and decisions brought us to this contemporary moment (10th/11th), and what is required to sustain more just political and economic systems (12th).

To that end, we will host a number of community convenings this year. For our first, in partnership with our colleagues at Facing History-Bay Area, ORIAS, and the Bay Area CCSS chapter, we invite teachers to come together to discuss the question: What does this moment require of us as history educators?  We also plan to host an Un-Conference in February. We anticipate that participants from our Making History and Ethnic Studies summer institutes will join in conversation with other members of the UCBHSSP educator community to discuss how they are shifting instruction based on their new thinking, amidst the context of this contemporary moment.

And, at each workshop we lead, we are asking participants to reflect on three simple questions: 1) How are you experiencing this period of change? 2) How are your students and school communities experiencing this period of significant and rapid change? And 3) How do these changes inform how you will approach your instruction this year?

As always, we respect the deep work you are doing and stand ready to support you. We hope to be a space of conversation, questioning, and shared learning with you this year.