Notes from the Director

This year has been a busy one for UCBHSSP as we support teachers both with refining their curriculum to reflect changes to the H-SS Framework as well as responding to the larger issues in our world. Throughout it all, we have been thinking about how we can help students and teachers feel safe in history classrooms.

While there are many things that can be done, we have focused our energies in three key areas: 1) preparing our Making History approach to be shared more broadly, 2) collaborating with scholars and educators on developing programming to support Ethnic Studies integration in H-SS classes, and 3) working with our Teacher Research Group on how to approach the teaching of controversial issues in H-SS classrooms.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation, we were able to host a summer program for high school students in which we piloted our ideas for how to engage students in meaningful history instruction. Over the last six months we, led by Jenna Rentz, have further refined the materials so that can be shared with a broader audience of teachers.

This work culminated in the development of this vision statement:

We believe that if teachers invite the history of their students and school community into the classroom, and orient their instruction around the shared construction of knowledge, students will view themselves as history makers.

If the idea of Making History speaks to you, please explore the web-based materials and consider joining us for a free one week institute, where you will be able to adapt the materials to your specific context.

As part of our work to reinforce the seeing of our students more fully, particularly in H-SS classrooms, we are in the process of planning an additional summer institute, which will explore how to integrate Ethnic Studies pedagogies into H-SS classrooms. We are collaborating with Dominique Williams, a teacher from Sacramento, Nate Gong, a former Oakland teacher and current graduate student in Education, and Will Gow, who is completing his doctorate in Ethnic Studies at Cal. Their collective knowledge and experience will inform what we share this summer.

Finally, with our Teacher Research Group, we have been exploring not only the Ethical Dimension of history, but also what it means to be a social justice educator, and the research on teaching (and preparing to teach) controversial issues. We plan to offer a few workshops at Cal next fall in which we can discuss these issues with a broader cohort of Bay Area educators.

Collectively, we hope these initiatives move us closer to supporting what it is you need to prepare yourselves and your students for engagement with meaningful H-SS instruction . . . and the world we live in today.