The District approved a year-long Ethnic Studies course as an elective in 2018 after five years of collaboration and dialogue that involved several levels of stakeholder engagement. The course followed the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum adopted by the State Board of Education on March 18, 2021.
A 2014 Stanford Study documented that participation in Ethnic Studies curriculum improved student’s attendance, GPA and credit earning. When all students are exposed to different and even contradictory perspectives, it teaches skills such as perspective-taking, abstraction and evidence-based argumentation. These are some of the basic components of critical thinking skills that are infused within state learning standards across the nation. Ethnic Studies benefits all students and brings communities together to develop a common understanding of the diverse cultures that comprise society.
In 2019, the Board approved a semester-long ethnic studies graduation requirement for all students, beginning with the freshman class of 2024. The course curriculum was approved in April 2020. The Board considered all stakeholder input, which included teachers, parents, students and Board input, before it approved the curriculum. The District began offering the semester-long Ethnic Studies course this year, for the 2020-2021 school year, to our first group of freshmen.
The District worked closely with teachers and university professors to develop our Ethnic Studies research-based curriculum and aligned it to standards. We are committed to creating learning opportunities that deepen students' understanding of themselves and their community. Through this, students will gain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for transformational change through a positive image of self, community, and critical hope for a more just and equitable world.