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    2019 Marks the First Year of the Ethnic Studies Summer Institute
    Posted on 08/13/2019
    Teachers gather together in front of a collection of books during the institute.

    2019 Marks the First Year of the Ethnic Studies Summer Institute

    The first Ethnic Studies Summer Institute brought together educators from across the district from July 29 through August 9, 2019. Held in partnership with Seattle University, Seattle Education Association’s Center for Racial Equity, and Seattle Public School’s Culturally Responsive Teacher Leadership Cadre, the institute was held at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

    The agenda for the institute, which was organized by Ethnic Studies Program Manager Tracy Castro-Gill, was focused on helping educators understand the pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching) behind ethnic studies, which prompted educators to reframe how they teach the content.

    Castro-Gill partnered with university professors and instructors from across the local community, facilitators introduced participants to their personal stories and expertise in the histories of ethnic peoples: LatinX studies, Pacific Islander studies, Asian studies, Black studies, and multicultural identities.

    In addition to adult facilitators, the NAACP Youth Coalition opened the first day of the institute by speaking of their experiences as students of color and why ethnic studies should be essential learning for all. Families of Color Seattle, a local non-profit organization, spoke to educators about their experience with schools, and why it is a necessity for all school staff to know and acknowledge each child’s unique capabilities and strengths, especially when they are interacting with families. They also spoke of the need for ethnic studies in their children’s learning, as it allows them to see affirming images of people of color who have impacted history and society.

    Thank you to all participants, community members, and facilitators for sharing their stories, knowledge, and experiences. The first year of the Ethnic Studies Summer Institute was a time of reflection and learning for all.

    Read more about ethnic studies curriculum at Seattle Public Schools.

    The institute is one example of the district's work to reaching students who are furthest away from educational justice. Read more about the Seattle Public Schools strategic plan.

    Editorial note: this article was updated August 16 to reflect Tracy Castro-Gill organized the Ethnic Studies Summer Institute.