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Ethnic Studies – Online Technical Assistance Package

Ethnic Studies

In ethnic studies courses and lessons, students study histories, experiences, cultures and issues of race, ethnicity and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of people of color in the United States.

Ethnic studies gives students many benefits, from social-emotional learning to college, career and community readiness.

This IDRA EAC-South Ethnic Studies Online Technical Assistance Package is designed to provide educators tools and resources for implementing ethnic studies in K-12 schools. It includes a literature review, webinar sessions, articles, podcasts and other resources.

Literature Review – Ethnic Studies Best Practices

The call for ethnic studies courses is part of long-standing advocacy for inclusion and equity in public history and social studies courses. The aim is to provide a more equitable form of education for all students and improve outcomes for historically underserved children. This literature review gives a historical overview, including the state-level landscape, challenges, programmatic and instructional best practices, and resources for educators and advocates.


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Building a SET Curriculum for Ethnic Studies: Incorporating Scholarship, Experiential Learning and Travel

This session will begin with an introduction to notions of curriculum to include definitions and perspectives and definitions and understandings of ethnic studies. Using Herbert Spencer’s (1884) questions regarding curriculum, the Dr. Berry will offer guidelines toward building a K-12 ethnic studies curriculum that incorporates the most current and comprehensive interdisciplinary knowledge and research (scholarship) on ethnic studies, service-learning and career-oriented activities with ethnic studies (experiential learning), and the ways in which travel opportunities can be integrated into a curriculum for ethnic studies.

Presenter: Dr. Theodorea Regina Berry, Vice Provost for Student Learning and Academic Success and Dean, University of Central Florida

Developing Racial Literacy for Teaching Ethnic Studies

This session is designed for teachers and teacher leaders of ethnic studies courses who want to develop pedagogical expertise in teaching these courses. In order to teach courses that center race/ethnicity, teachers need to develop their racial literacy, defined as the ability to examine the existence and effects of race and racism. Participants will learn pitfalls to avoid and best practices to employ when facilitating discussion about race/ethnicity in ethnic studies courses. The session will also include time for participants to ask questions and solicit feedback regarding issues they’ve face and concerns they have about teaching ethnic studies.

Presenter: Dr. Altheria Caldera, IDRA Education Policy Fellow

Approaches to Building Culturally Sustaining Educational Environments through Ethnic Studies

Ethnic studies courses have many benefits, such as social-emotional learning and college, career and community readiness, especially when co-constructed with families and community organizations. This session will have a facilitated conversation about how to establish cultural and ethnic studies courses and programming in your school district including teaching of content-specific courses as well as tools educators can use to incorporate cultural sustainability into any curriculum.

Presenters: Mr. Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA Family Engagement Coordinator; Mr. Terrence Wilson, J.D., IDRA Regional Policy and Community Engagement Director

Mexican American Studies – Recentering Student Identities and Well-being

This session will focus on Mexican American Studies as a humanizing practice for teachers, students and the communities they both serve. The session will start with an overview its history, principles and practices and the ways that educators can recenter their students in the classroom through a curriculum that honors and dignifies their history, realities and cultural wealth.

Presenter: Dr. Lilliana Patricia Saldaña, Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio

Teacher and Family Observations on Ethnic Studies & Tips for Organizing in Support of Ethnic Studies

Part I – Teacher and Family Observations on Ethnic Studies (interview findings). Part II – Tips for Organizing in Support of Ethnic Studies. Featuring Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA Family Engagement Coordinator; Eva Carranza, Parent and Education Leader, ARISE Adelante; Gilbert Flores, MAS Teacher Breckenridge High School, San Antonio ISD; Lilliana Saldana, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio; and Josué Peralta de Jesús, High School Junior, IDRA Youth Advisory Board member.

How to Effectively Implement Ethnic Studies Curriculum in the Wake of Classroom Censorship Sentiment

Presenters from the Georgia Educators for Equity and Justice, Inc., discussed:

  • What is ethnic studies?
  • How to advocate for an ethnic studies course
  • How to teach marginalized students as an ally.
  • The importance of authenticity when teaching a social studies or science course
  • The importance of creating safe spaces and trauma-informed practices for productive discussions centering around anti-racism and equity
  • How to utilize ethnic studies pedagogy in fine arts curriculum
  • A student’s perspective on the importance of ethnic studies
  • How to prepare yourself for teaching an ethnic studies course

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