Pollyanna will offer a new Racial Literacy Curriculum* to schools. Can you briefly describe it?
This Racial Literacy Curriculum is for Grades K-8 and is designed to help students learn that race is a social construct. If we don’t know the true history behind something, then we believe it’s a natural order. The earlier we talk about race like we do math, science and history it becomes part of a holistic education. Some households talk about it, others not much or not at all. This curriculum helps to create a common ground.
What led to the development of this curriculum?
Pollyanna received a very generous foundation grant to create a K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum and curriculum has always been a passion. I’m multiracial and while growing up we talked about race but never about MY race. As I went on to teach, both in public and private schools, I realized there was little or no discussion of racial literacy in the classroom. And through my involvement in the Dalton Diversity Conference, hearing people at the end of the conference say, “how can we implement change in our classrooms…we need curriculum to support this,” substantiated the need for this program.
We have also been fortunate to consult with a group of phenomenal educators, Jean-Robert Andre, a teacher at Grace Church School, Tyner Gordon, Middle School Assistant Director at Dalton School, and Scott Moore, Assistant Principal at NYC Department of Education, who each bring a different perspective to the development of the project and have been very involved in communal brainstorming.
How is the curriculum structured?
Each grade level has a series of lesson plans. It’s a spiral curriculum, like math it gets more complicated as you move to the next grade level. The lesson plan walks the educator through the class with referenced articles, a selection of read alouds that guide them through the conversation, key vocabulary words, videos from sources such as Vox,
The New York Times
as well as some that are animated. We suggest how to close the lesson, include independent work as well as various ways to extend the lesson. All in all, these are very much procedural lessons to which an educator can add their own touch.
Do you have a launch date established?
We are beginning with a
pilot program in a few schools around the country
who will try out a couple of lesson plans in different grades. We will seek feedback from these schools which will help us see if we are on the right track. We are anticipating the full program will be ready to launch by mid to late March 2019, so schools can add it to their curriculums for the fall of 2019.
*The Pollyanna K-8 Racial Literacy Curriculum is being provided to schools without charge because of the generosity of a grant. Schools may consider a donation to support Pollyanna's ongoing initiatives so that it may continue to offer materials and services without charge.