Two Rosies
Two Rosies, by Joseph, E. F. (Emmanuel Francis). Source: Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University and Teaching California (California Historical Society)

Centering Race in 11th Grade U.S. History

Holly Royaltey, Devin Hess, and Beth Slutsky
Holly Royaltey, Devin Hess, & Beth Slutsky

“We only need to read the news to see that we are in a critical moment in U.S. History.  11th grade US History allows us to directly enter the exploration of this current reality with our students by making their history class relevant and up-to-date.” This is how Devin Hess, Program Coordinator at the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project recently explained the urgency, the substance, and the goals of the 11th Grade Group.  To lead the modern-U.S. history Grade Group, Devin will be joined by Holly Royaltey, 11th grade teacher at Del Mar High School in the Campbell Unified School District, along with Beth Slutsky, CHSSP Coordinator and lead author of the 11th Grade Framework chapter. Together, Devin, Holly, and Beth will host discussions, presentations, lesson demonstrations that center race in the 11th grade U.S. history classroom.

The 11th Grade Group aims to assist teachers as they help their students understand their place in today’s world.  Race is the central theme that will frame the Grade Group.  The group will support anti-racist teaching by exploring through-lines that connect the current struggles against the rising assertion of white supremacy with the legacy of the African slavery, settler colonialism and the oppression of other peoples of color. “Model lessons that draw connections between the rise and fall of Reconstruction in the 19th century, white supremacy and jazz culture in the 1920s, civil rights, black power and affirmative action in the 1960s and 1970s, and contemporary Black Lives Matters activism,” for example, as Beth recently explained, “will encourage 11th grade teachers to discuss ways to highlight the importance of race in American history.”  The Grade Group also plans to focus on strategies for 11th grade civic engagement with a discussion of the transformative role of social movements and the enduring history of resistance to oppression.  Helping teachers focus and prioritize instruction, and employ the most effective digital strategies, is a high priority given the limitations of distance learning. The sessions will be a mixture of strategy and content offerings, collaborative planning and reflection. 

The Grade Group series is specifically designed to provide teachers with the resources and support they will need to teach this fall.  The 11th Grade Group – like all other groups – will offer educators from across the state the opportunity to talk with each other, share new ideas, and think together about how best to teach their particular content  and address students’ social and emotional needs in this new and admittedly difficult context.

Grade Groups are set to begin on September 24 at 4:00 with a special presentation by USC Professor and Neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on the impact of trauma on student cognitive and emotional development. In addition to the September 24 event, the 11th Grade Group will meet the following Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00 pm: September 29, October 6 and 27, November 17, and December 1 and 15.

For more information about the Grade Groups series, click here.  Registration Fee:  $185. To register online via credit card, click here.  To register via check or purchase order, click here.

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