Current News

How Well Do You Know D.C.?


When most people think of Washington, D.C., they think of monuments, museums, and the federal government. Often overlooked is the local city, long shaped by issues of race, class, and colonial status. Take our quiz and find out how well you know the real D.C. Read more.

National Cathedral School Community Supports Teaching for Change


Students, staff, parents, and friends of the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. gathered in late September for a service based on Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. Jane Simchak, a teacher in the Lower School, spoke about the book and in particular the theme of her grandfather’s garden and growth that comes in all aspects of our lives. The offertory for the service was collected on behalf of Teaching for Change. Read more.

D.C. Teachers Launch Stories from Our Classrooms


Fourteen D.C. area teachers gathered last Sunday to write stories from their classrooms. This was the first session in a year-long course launched by Teaching for Change. As a result of writing and reflecting together, teacher participants will deepen their own practice, build community among D.C. area social justice educators, and contribute to the all-too-scarce collection of published descriptions of classroom practice by teachers themselves. Read more.

Thank You to Our Teach the Beat Donors


Through the generous support of individual donors, Teaching for Change will continue to bring go-go into D.C. area classrooms. From June through September, Teaching for Change brought go-go performers and scholars to provide in-school coaching to D.C. public and public charter students of all ages as part of a special grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In September, we asked for individual contributions to help us continue this exciting program through the fall and beyond—and you responded! Read more.

Debut Book Author Commits Proceeds to Teaching for Change


Debut young adult author Rebecca Villarreal has committed five percent of all net proceeds of her first book, The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón, (Mama Chelo Press, 2015) to Teaching for Change. Released in August, the book tells the story of two fifth graders – Selma Calderón and her best friend Hurley Bingenworth – as they use magical powers to travel the world and unravel the mystery of her missing parents while eating their favorite foods along the way. The duo is also challenged to find non-magical… Read more.

New Multicultural Children’s Books


This year we are pleasantly surprised to find more than the usual handful of new children’s books to recommend. There continues to be a critical scarcity of good children’s books by and about people of color, so we are happy to shine a light on these books that challenge the norm. Read more.

Mississippi Teacher Fellows Host Workshops Across the State


“I want to bring these lessons on teaching about the Civil Rights Movement to teachers in my school district.” Raymond Brookter’s sentiment was echoed by all the participants in our summer institute for Mississippi teacher fellows. On top of their full course load, these teachers rolled up their sleeves and made that vision a reality. In early September, teacher fellows in Kosciusko, Laurel, and Hattiesburg organized full-day workshops for teachers and/or students in their respective school districts. Read more.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Teaching History

On October 15, 2015, Teaching for Change staff member Julian Hipkins III had the opportunity to ask Ta-Nehisi Coates about how to teach students the truth “about white supremacy” without discouraging them and to let them know they can do “something to fight back against white supremacy and have hope for the future.” Coates’ response provides a powerful history lesson… Read more.

Preserving and Teaching Black History

During this powerful interview, Jenkins talks about the history of Howard University, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), pan-Africanism, liberatory education, the Association for the Study of African American Life and Culture (ASALH), Black history as American history, Stokely Carmichael, lessons from the barbershop, revolutionary nonviolence, and much more. Jenkins explains that in order to ensure that the next generation has access to the narratives of Black history… Read more.

House Parties Celebrate 25 Years of Teaching for Change


Fundraising has never been so much fun! Marrianne McMullen and Jeff Epton, along with their neighbor Andrea Vincent, invited people to their home in Brookland on September 20 for the first in our fall series of 25th anniversary Teaching for Change house parties. This wasn’t a stressful and stuffy major gala event—instead it was a grassroots fundraiser for a grassroots organization. There was a house full of wonderful company, scrumptious food, a relaxed atmosphere, and meaningful… Read more.

Amelia Boynton Robinson and the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL)


Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson passed away on August 26, 2015 at the age of 104. Boynton Robinson, brutally beaten on Bloody Sunday. Amelia Boynton Robinson, brutally beaten on Bloody Sunday. She is best known for her iconic photo after being beaten in Selma on Bloody Sunday. While the photo offers evidence of her bravery and sacrifice, people should also know that her activism on the Edmund Pettus Bridge was preceded by decades of work that helped to lay the groundwork… Read more.

Américas Award Book Winners and K-12 Workshop


The Américas Award has announced the 2015 titles: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh and Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle. Both books, and their authors, are Teaching for Change favorites. Read more.

Stories from Our Classrooms: A Writing Course for D.C. Area Social Justice Teachers


This course is for D.C. area teachers who are eager to write about their own classrooms through a social justice lens. We will meet to write and revise stories with the goal of each participant preparing a piece for publication. Pam Bryant, a National Writing Project facilitator, will coach teachers through a variety of writing exercises; participants will provide ongoing feedback to each other. In addition, guest authors will attend some of the sessions to share insights and experiences related to publishing… Read more.

Julian Bond, ¡Presente!


We are deeply saddened at the passing of long time activist, professor, politician, and writer Julian Bond at the age of 75 on August 15, 2015. Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where he served as director of communications. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center; was elected to four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and later to six terms in the Georgia Senate; and from 1998 to 2010, he was chairperson of the NAACP. Read more.

Building a Civil Rights Teaching Community in Mississippi


This summer, eleven middle and high school teachers from the across the state of Mississippi met to share resources, stories, and fellowship about how to bring a deeper understanding of the rich history of civil rights and labor movements in Mississippi to their students. During the course of the week they created a strong bond based on their shared commitment to introduce students to the bottom-up and often hidden history of the state. Read more.

Breaking Barriers of Race, Class, and Language in Schools


On July 22, 2015, Teaching for Change hosted a special event, “Race, Class, and Language: Breaking Barriers to Family Engagement in D.C.,” a briefing over breakfast with community stakeholders about the impact of gentrification and systemic inequities on full parental participation in schools. The event featured case studies from the 2015-2016 school year at school partnering with the Tellin’ Stories Project, Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized approach to family engagement. Read more.

A New Tradition for Families Going to Middle School

On May 29, 2015, breakfast greeted the fifth grade parents at Tyler Elementary (DCPS) a, first-year Tellin’ Stories partner school. The cheerful spread was part of a new tradition the teachers hoped to start for families preparing to make the leap from elementary to middle school: the Fifth Grade Family Promotional Breakfast. Read more.

Teaching Young Children about Race


Recent events— including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Charleston church shooting, and the debate over the Confederate flag— have led many parents and teachers to seek out resources to address issues of race and inequality with young children. We share with you here an excerpt from the book Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. The book offers practical guidance to early childhood educators (including parents) for confronting barriers of prejudice, misinformation… Read more.

Go-Go Performers Coach Next Generation in D.C. Classrooms


What an experience to see renowned go-go musicians coaching and mentoring students in D.C. classrooms. Students perform with expert guidance, ask questions, and wear out the performers with requests for photos and autographs before they left. Meanwhile, the go-go performers leave with new-found respect for the dedication and hard work of classroom music teachers. The visits began in June and continue through the end of September as part of a special initiative… Read more.

An Outside Perspective on a Tellin’ Stories School


Just after the start of the school day on June 5, 2015, more than 20 parents gathered in the large meeting room to share their triumphs and challenges from the 2014-2015 school year at Thomson Elementary’s (DCPS) final Parent-Principal Chit Chat for the school year. The hour long breakfast meetings were established three years ago through a partnership with Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories Project as a way to foster conversation and effective collaboration between families… Read more.

From D.C. to Central America, from Voting Rights to Sports: Teaching for Change at NCORE


Teaching for Change co-hosted four dynamic sessions at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) late last month in Washington, D.C. NCORE had invited Teaching for Change to host these sessions in honor of our 25th anniversary. Read more.

2015 Summer Reading List


At Teaching for Change, we are proud of our carefully selected booklists that highlight titles by and about people of color as well as social justice themes. Unfortunately, this is not the industry norm. In the last 10 years, fewer than 10% of children’s books published in the U.S. were by or about people of color. This year’s New York Times Summer Reading List is comprised 100% of white authors. Read more.

Monseñor Oscar Romero: Tribute Poem


On the occasion of the beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero on May 23, 2015, we share “I Am the Land,” a tribute poem by our colleague (and former Teaching for Change board member) E. Ethelbert Miller. We also encourage educators to teach about Romero and many other unsung heroes in Central America with these resources designed to Put Central America on the Map in Schools. Read more.

Changing the Narrative About Selma


On this 50th anniversary year of the Voting Rights Act, the mainstream media features images of President Lyndon Johnson making history with the stroke of a pen. Hidden is the more pivotal role of brave people such as the child in the photo,  about to be arrested in Selma as he demands voting rights for all. Through our widely read article, The Selma Voting Rights Struggle: 15 Key Points from Bottom-Up History and Why It Matters Today by Emilye Crosby, we are pleased to have played a key role in uplifting… Read more.

Parents Visit Classrooms at Thomson Elementary School


The parents at Tellin’ Stories third-year partner school Thomson Elementary (DCPS) sat with anticipation for this meeting with the principal. On Friday, May 8, 2015, they gathered in the school cafeteria with Principal Carmen Shepherd and interpreters for a special Parent-Principal Chit Chat. “We’re going to do class visits today, because that’s something you requested—to see more of what classrooms in action look like,” said Principal Shepherd to the 20 parents in attendance. Read more.

International FilmFest Goes to D.C. Classrooms


Teaching for Change was pleased to help Filmfest DC 2015 bring filmmakers and students together for the fourth year in a row. In April 2015, students at three high schools in Washington, D.C., had the opportunity to talk with film’s directors about their documentaries. This year’s films were about gay marriage in the U.S. and education in Israel and Palestine. Read more.

Teach the Beat: Go-Go Goes to School


Teaching for Change, in partnership with DCPS, is pleased to announce that the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) has provided funding for the “Teach the Beat: Go-Go Goes to School: Artists and Scholars in the Classroom” initiative to infuse D.C.’s rich and unique tradition of go-go in the curriculum. To achieve this goal, go-go performers and scholars will be available to provide in-school coaching to D.C. public and public charter school teachers and students in music, social studies, and… Read more.

Orr Parents Take to Radio to Advocate for New Building


“The [condition] of the building doesn’t reflect the community inside the school,” stated Orr Elementary (DCPS) parent Ms. Sirrell Phillips in a radio interview to discuss the pressing need to modernize the building where her youngest child attends pre-Kindergarten. Phillips and another Orr parent, Mr. Bernard Dickey were featured guests on Taking Action, a weekly radio show hosted by Empower DC on WPFW 89.3FM. The parents and community supporting Orr Elementary, located in Ward 8 in Washington, D.C… Read more.

Victory Stolen from Ward 8 Community: Parents Fight Again for Orr ES Modernization


Orr Elementary School (DCPS) parents in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8 have organized for many years to have the building modernized. Orr, with an almost entirely low-income African American student population, is among the last open floor plan schools in the District. Built in 1974, it has never been modernized. The dedicated, high quality administration and teaching staff make this an over-enrolled and popular school, despite the building. Orr also serves the largest population of preschool through Kindergarten students… Read more.

Twitter Chat on Roving Readers Program April 22, 2015


Please join Teaching for Change for a discussion of the Roving Readers program on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 9pm EST. The chat, hosted by the Institute for Educational Leadership, will give insights for schools that want to implement Roving Readers, a program to bring parents into the classroom to read multicultural books. Read more.

Race, Rights, and Responsibility: NY Education Conference


Teaching for Change is pleased co-sponsors Race, Rights, and Responsibility: What Educators Can Do to Help Their Students Think Critically About Protest, Law Enforcement, and Civil Liberty on May 16, 2015 at the NYU Global Center. The conference is coordinated by Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center), under the leadership of Professor David Kirkland. As explained on the Metro Center website… Read more.

International Filmmakers Come to DC Schools


Filmfest DC is back for its 29th year with an exciting new program of over 70 features, documentaries, and shorts representing the best in new cinema from around the globe. Producers from two of the films are available to visit with students in DC public or public charter school classrooms on April 23 and 24. Read more.

Lessons of Vietnam: Power of Protest


We encourage students and teachers to attend this convening in Washington, D.C. for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam Peace Movement on May 1-2. Here is the description from the conference organizers: As war continues to be a clear and present danger to our democracy, we will gather to reflect and renew our commitments. Hundreds of us will come to the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, a meeting place and staging area for the huge anti-war mobilizations of the late 60s and early 70s. Read more.

Selma in Kosciusko


“Women can do just as much as men can when it comes to leadership.” This is just one of the comments made by students in Jessica Dickens’ class in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Dickens, a teacher the Kosciusko School District and Mississippi Civil Rights movement and Labor History teacher fellow, recently introduced the lesson, Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today, to her 10th grade class. Read more.

Participatory Principal Selection Process


Maria squeezed into the packed Parent Center at Bruce Monroe at Park View Elementary School in D.C. on Friday morning. She came to find out how she can be involved in choosing the school’s next principal in an interactive session led by Teaching for Change that brought to life information DCPS shared the previous week via PowerPoint. As Dr. Palacios, long-time educator and champion of bilingual education prepares to retire, the parents are electing representatives… Read more.

Food Justice Youth Summit


By Jill Weiler

Our 11th grade FOOD JUSTICE EXPEDITION is an interdisciplinary three-part study (past, present and future) of the impact of food on our community–both locally and globally. The expedition begins with an exploration of our students’ families’ cultural connections to foods; as 99% of our students come from African American and immigrant families, we discuss the significant role of food in dictating cultural identity. Read more.

Teaching for Change Bookstore Memories


On this 25th anniversary of Teaching for Change and 10th anniversary of our bookstore, we are passing on the operations of the bookstore at 14th & V to Busboys and Poets partner Politics and Prose. As we prepare to end our operation of the bookstore at 14th & V, we are collecting testimonials and memories about the store, favorite books, author events, and more. We invite you to read, share, and add your own.

Making Voices of D.C. the Text: Workshop for DCPS Curriculum Team


“We want our texts to provide mirrors and windows for our students,” said Brian Pick, chief of teaching and learning for DCPS, in his introduction. “We want to make sure that they see themselves reflected in the curriculum and that they have texts that allow them to see beyond the 61 square miles of DC.” On March 17, DC Public Schools (DCPS) held a 2-day work session for educators to review current texts and develop a culturally responsive curriculum as part of the Empowering Males of Color Initiative. Read more.

Teaching for Change at NCORE

As part of our 25th anniversary series of events, Teaching for Change will co-host four sessions at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). Held in D.C. this year, NCORE 2015 runs from May 26-30, 2015. The conference will open with a special forum called, “Dispatches from the Movement: Perspectives on Leadership, Organizing and Solidarity in the Struggle for Racial Justice.” The opening keynote speaker is hip hop activist and journalist… Read more.



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