Seattle Public Schools


Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies at Seattle Public Schools

Ethnic studies is a curriculum program and a discipline of study in all grades and content areas focused on the experiences of people and communities of color with an emphasis on indigeneity.

Ethnic studies has been shown to improve academic engagement and success in every unit of measure regardless of race or socio-economic status. It has proven to decrease bias, increase empathy, increase a sense of shared humanity and community, increase identity safety, and increase civic engagement.

Operating under the instructions of Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity (Policy 0030), we are partnering with the Department of Racial Equity Advancement and the Center for Race and Equity to develop an understanding of racial equity and justice so educators are prepared to teach ethnic studies in each content area to students from grades preK-12.


The Seattle Public Schools Board adopted a resolution in support of Ethnic Studies in 2017 thanks to the activism of students, families, and educators. Led by the NAACP and supported by Seattle Education Association?s Center for Race and Equity, educators have been working since then to build a program reflective of the needs, demands, and concerns of our community.

In response to a resolution by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in January 2017, Seattle Public Schools began work to expand and improve ethnic studies in the curriculum of its schools.

A combined citizen and staff task force began work to develop recommendations and form a working group to begin to develop curriculum.