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Expanding High School Course Catalog Offerings

Summary: Seattle Public Schools has a new way for our students to access courses in Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies.

SPS to Offer Districtwide Access to Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies Courses

Seattle Public Schools will continue to provide another way for students to access courses in Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, American Indian Studies, LGBTQIA+ Studies, and World Languages in the 2023-24 school year. SPS will again offer virtual classes in the morning that allow students to take courses in these areas no matter where they are in the district. Below is a list of potential virtual courses on which we will be gauging interest during the course pre-registration process.

Expanded access to these courses is critical to our racial equity work and the commitment we have made to our community – particularly our students of color furthest from educational justice and their families – to offer Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, American Indian Studies, and LGBTQIA+ Studies.

SPS has made great progress in expanding course offerings in these areas, but many SPS students are unable to access the classes. By having common morning periods across SPS high schools, students will be able to access virtual Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, American Indian Studies, LGBTQIA+ Studies, and World Language courses offered districtwide.  

SPS wants schools to continue to offer in-person courses. The long-term plan is for all schools to offer these courses in the buildings during the school day. The 2023-24 virtual courses in Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, American Indian Studies, and LGBTQIA+ Studies are, in part, a bridge to a time when we can offer these courses to all students and at all schools.    

Potential Virtual Courses for 2023-24

9th Grade – LGBTQIA Introduction to Literature & Composition (Yearlong)

This course focuses on the voices of LGBTQIA people. It concentrates on critical reading of texts from different genres, reflecting themes of identity and self-discovery and also focuses on clear and purposeful writing.

10th Grade – Black Studies World History 3 (1 Semester)

The experiences of Africa and her diaspora are important to understanding the human dynamics that led to the enslavement and subsequent freedom of Black people around the world. 

11th Grade – Black Studies US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course teaches students about the Black and African American experience from a national and global perspective. 

11th Grade – Ethnic Studies US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course is designed to investigate self and society through the lens of Ethnic Studies. We will engage in problem-posing learning and critical inquiry to take ownership of our own narratives and to understand and respond to injustice in a variety of ways. 

11th Grade – Filipinx American US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course helps students develop geographic literacy, economic understanding, and civic wisdom and commitment, and historical knowledge and perspective from 1877- 1950’s from a Filipino American lens.

11th Grade- Asian American Literature – ELA 11 (Yearlong)

This course focuses on critically reading Asian American interpretations of the American experience and the American dream, with an emphasis on increasing the sophistication of students’ reading, writing and speaking skills.

11th Grade – Native American Literature – ELA 11 (Yearlong)

In this course, students will read novels, short stories, poetry and personal narratives to expose them to a literary anthology of the Native American. 

11th Grade – Latinx American Literature and Composition ELA 11 (Yearlong)

In this course, students read, discuss, and write about fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, drama, film and other texts from Latin America to expose students to a literary anthology of the authors and texts from different countries, languages, and socio-economic levels, including indigenous authors.

11th Grade – African American Literature and Composition ELA11 (Yearlong)

This course concentrates on close reading and analysis of major and minor works of African Americans from the late 18th century into the present.  Students will examine the historical, political, economic and/or and cultural conditions out of which the African American literary tradition has developed.

12th Grade – Women of Color Comparative Literature and Composition ELA12 (Yearlong)

This course will focus on women authors of color from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and will examine the social, cultural, political, and historical contexts that shaped the texts we will study throughout the year. The course will consider how critical race theory and gender studies give us specific insight into how female authors of color depict underrepresented groups in American literature and culture.

9th-12th Grade – Arabic 1 (Yearlong)

This course introduces students to Arabic language and culture. The course prepares students to carry on basic conversation in Arabic, read and write simple sentences about familiar topics, and explores how and where Arabic-speaking people live.

9th-12th Grade Arabic 2 (Yearlong)

This course builds upon the Arabic 1 experience. In Arabic 2 students continue to study the Arabic language and culture. The course prepares students to read, write, speak and listen in intermediate to advanced Arabic proficiency. Students will develop presentational, communication, and conversational skills on a range of topics and themes. Students will also explore how the Arabic language and their own language identities intersect.

9th-12th Grade – Kiswahili 1 (Yearlong)

This course introduces students to Kiswahili language and culture. The course prepares students to carry on basic conversations in Kiwsahili, read and write simple sentences about familiar topics, and explores the different ways Kiswahili is the most spoken language across the continent of Africa and growing across the globe.

9th-12th Grade Kiswahili 2 (Yearlong)

This course builds upon the Kiswahili 1 experience. In Kiswahili 2 students continue to study the Kiswahili language and culture. The course prepares students to read, write, speak and listen in intermediate to advanced Kiswahili proficiency. Students will develop presentational, communication, and conversational skills on a range of topics and themes. Students will also explore how the Kiswahili language and their own language identities intersect.

9th-12th Grade Heritage Somali 1 (Yearlong)

This course designed for Somali-speaking students introduces students to the written Somali language, cross-linguistic connections, and different aspects of Somali culture and identity. The course prepares students to carry on basic conversation in Somali, read and write simple sentences about familiar topics and themes, and explore the different ways Somali is spoken around the world and the United States. 9th – 12th Grade Heritage Somali 2 (Yearlong) – This course designed for Somali-speaking students builds upon the Heritage Somali 1 experience. In Heritage Somali 2 students continue to study the Somali language and culture. The course prepares students to read, write, speak and listen in intermediate to advanced Somali proficiency across a wide range of social contexts. Students will develop presentational, communication, and conversational skills on a range of topics and themes. Students will continue to explore how the Somali language and different aspects of the community and their identities intersect.

District Guides for High School Course Registration

The following documents provide an introduction to the Seattle Public Schools high school course registration process for the 2023-24 school year. They are designed to assist you in making informed, educational decisions in preparation for your future and to complement the information you receive from your high school.


2022-23 Courses

Seattle Public Schools has a new way for our students to access courses in Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies in the 2022-23 school year. There is also the possibility of virtual courses in LGBTQIA+ studies and world languages. SPS will offer virtual classes in the morning that allow students to take courses in these areas no matter where they are in the district. 

Expanded access to these courses is critical to our racial equity work and the commitment we have made to our community – particularly our students of color furthest from educational justice and their families – to offer Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies.  

SPS has made great progress in expanding course offerings in these areas, but many SPS students are unable to access the classes. By having common morning periods across SPS high schools, students will be able to access virtual Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies courses offered districtwide.  

SPS wants schools to continue to offer in-person courses. The long-term plan is for all schools to offer these courses in the buildings during the school day. The 2022-23 virtual courses in Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, and American Indian Studies are, in part, a bridge to a time when we can offer these courses to all students and at all schools.    

Course offerings

9th Grade – LGBTQIA Introduction to Literature & Composition (Yearlong)

This course focuses on the voices of LGBTQIA people. It concentrates on critical reading of texts from different genres, reflecting themes of identity and self-discovery and focuses on clear and purposeful writing. 

9-12th Grade – Arabic 1 (Yearlong)

This course introduces students to Arabic language and culture. The course prepares students to carry on basic conversation in Arabic, read and write simple sentences about familiar topics, and explores how and where Arabic-speaking people live. 

10th grade – Black Studies World History 3 (1 Semester)

The experiences of Africa and her diaspora are important to understanding the human dynamics that led to the enslavement and subsequent freedom of Black people around the world.  

11th grade – Black Studies US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course teaches students about the Black and African American experience from a national and global perspective.  

11th grade – Ethnic Studies US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course is designed to investigate self and society through the lens of Ethnic Studies. We will engage in problem-posing learning and critical inquiry to take ownership of our own narratives and to understand and respond to injustice in a variety of ways.  

11th grade – Filipinx American US History 11 (Yearlong)

This course helps students develop geographic literacy, economic understanding, and civic wisdom and commitment, and historical knowledge and perspective from 1877- 1950’s from a Filipino American lens. 

11th Grade – US History focusing on Since Time Immemorial 11 (Yearlong)

This course examines the development of America through the eyes of the hundreds of tribes who are the first people of this land. Students explore crucial tribal past and present issues, sovereignty, contributions, resistance, and resiliency while developing critical reading and writing skills. 

11th Grade- Asian American Literature – ELA 11 (Yearlong)

This course focuses on critically reading Asian American interpretations of the American experience and the American dream, with an emphasis on increasing the sophistication of students’ reading, writing and speaking skills. 

11th Grade – Native American Literature – ELA 11 (Yearlong)

In this course, students will read novels, short stories, poetry and personal narratives to expose them to a literary anthology of the Native American. 

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