by Ben Adlin
Parents looking for ways to help their kids build healthy reading habits will have another resource this summer: Real Dawgs Read, a program created by the University of Washington to help structure and reward independent reading.
The program asks K–8 students to read 30 minutes per day for 30 days over the summer. Pretty much anything goes — books, magazines, comics, and newspapers all count toward the goal. Students submit written logs of their reading and, in exchange, receive a personalized certificate and a UW-branded goodie, such as a hat, hoodie, or socks.
Continue reading An Unusual UW Merchandising Deal Is Encouraging Thousands of Kids to Read
by Ari Robin McKenna
This is the second in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the first, click here. To read the series intro, click here.
When Bruce Jackson was a child, his household was swept up into a greater story that still reverberates across the world today. His uncle, Zayd, was killed defending writer and civil rights activist Assata Shakur during a confrontation with police on the New Jersey Turnpike. A documentary about Shakur’s life ends with the following words regarding her chosen surname:
“It is a name that I took to carry on the name of Zayd Malik Shakur in honor of his family, and in honor of the forces of beauty and good on this earth which I’m grateful for. That is my name.”
Continue reading Ethnic Studies Educator Bruce Jackson and the Beautiful American Story Never Told
by Racial Equity Education
A cultural revolution is happening in Seattle and around the country as we experience a collective awakening of individuals and institutions to the damages caused by centuries of White supremacy and systemic racism. It is becoming more apparent that K–12 schools continue to contribute to racial injustice, even in some of the most progressive districts.
Seattle Public Schools, despite passing a resolution in 2017, has yet to mandate, implement, and fully fund ethnic studies curriculum districtwide. While the Seattle district office claims to be committed to centering youth voices and serving students furthest from educational justice, they continue to merely pay lip service to the demands that have been clearly voiced by Garfield students for years. Yet the district’s recent decision to remove Tracy Castro-Gill as Head of Ethnic Studies for Seattle Public Schools has set back years of work by discrediting their own Ethnic Studies program and the many dedicated educators who have built it.
Continue reading OPINION: Racial Equity Education Launches National Crowd-Sourced Public Education Campaign
by Ari Robin McKenna
This is the first in a series of articles featuring the words of local ethnic studies educators who are doing work to address systemic racism in our classrooms. To read the series intro, click here.
To Amanda Hubbard, ethnic studies is foundational; it is the basis for effective instruction in the classroom, from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Period. She’s done with students of color being given a footnote’s worth of space in the curriculum — an elective if they’re lucky — while the Eurocentric victors’ tales are taught, definitively, as “history.” She’s done with a White supremacist educational culture that defies all the current best-practice research emphasizing both the process and the power of learning from mistakes — in favor of maintaining a biased, high-stakes hierarchy of winners and losers.
And so, Amanda Hubbard is working, beyond her teaching hours, to develop a better way.
Continue reading Ethnic Studies Educator Amanda Hubbard Takes Us Above and Beyond the Winner/Loser Binary
by Brandon K. Hersey
Each year, for the past three years, the Seattle Public School system has adopted a resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter at School movement. Each statement unanimously declared that we would work to undo an institutionally racist system that has marginalized Black students for decades and has left them behind as the city’s crippling opportunity gap continues to widen. The Black Lives Matter at School movement has four simple demands: end zero-tolerance policies, mandate Black history and ethnic studies, hire more Black teachers, and fund counselors, not cops. Continue reading OPINION: Keep Your Tanks Away From Our Schools
by Kamna Shastri
(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted with permission)
Rainier Beach High School student Angelina Riley walked out of virtual school at noon on Wednesday, June 3, waving a sign outside the street of her home to protest police presence in schools. At least 100 other youth did the same. Riley said that youth wanted a way to get involved in the activism and momentum around challenging police brutality. “Somewhere people have forgotten about is schools,” she said. Continue reading The Student Activism That Led to Seattle Schools Temporarily Cutting Ties With SPD
by Ari Robin McKenna
As fresh droves of people grapple more seriously with the slippery concept of systemic racism, now is the time to support the efforts of educators working to mainstream antiracist education. Three years ago, the future of ethnic studies in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) looked assured, after the school board unanimously approved a resolution in support of it. Yet the district now seems to be reversing course, and there is a closed hearing today, June 8, about the removal of SPS ethnic studies program manager, Tracy Castro-Gill, a former regional teacher of the year whose integrity and ability to cooperate are being questioned. As a massive cultural uprising marches forward seeking to address systemic racism nationwide, apparently a few folks high up in SPS’s district office seem to think it makes sense to defund ethnic studies and head in the opposite direction. Continue reading OPINION: Ethnic Studies Could Dismantle Systemic Racism in Our Schools
by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
Two years ago, amid shifting trends towards standardized, “one-size-fits-all” approaches to testing and curriculum development, parents, students, and staff at Orca K-8 School brainstormed and launched a program called South End Stories. A dynamic and multi-faceted experience, South End Stories (SES) works within Seattle Public Schools to create safe spaces for students to share their own stories through film, dance, writing and performance.
Continue reading South End Stories Helps Youth of Color Build Storytelling Skills
by Ben Adlin
It’s no news to Seattle parents and caretakers that educating kids has become even more of a challenge since the city closed school campuses in March. Many have been asked without warning to take on the roles of teacher and childcare worker while still having to travel to essential jobs, find new employment or adapt to working from home.
A newly expanded partnership between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Public Library hopes to ease the transition by offering families free access to a suite of online resources. With just their school identification number, all K-12 students can now log in to the library’s digital databases and electronic media.
Continue reading No library card? No problem. Every Seattle Public School Student Now Has Access
by Marcus Harden
(This article first appeared on Rise up For Students and has been reprinted with permission.)
“As long as there are those that remember what was, there will always be those that are unable to accept what can be. They will resist.”
—Thanos, Avengers Endgame
I hate social distancing. There, I said it.
I believe in the power of language — I rarely use the word hate — and I fully understand why social distancing is necessary. I honor and respect the sacrifices workers are making that allow me to sit on my Ikea couch and write a blog post about hating it and the privilege that comes along with it.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way … every day, my heart and spirit mourns the loss of not only what was, but like so many others around me, I grieve for the lost feeling of certainty of what will be.
Continue reading OPINION: As We Mourn the Loss of “Normal,” the Time has Come to Envision a Bold New Future for Our Schools