Current News

How Discrimination Shapes Parent-Teacher Communication


Still, despite widespread recognition that communication from school to home is valuable, most research to date has centered on parents reaching out to educators. With the NYU study, the focus is on the reverse: communication patterns that originate with children’s teachers. Matthew Lynde Chesnut, a social-studies teacher at Kennedy High School, in San Antonio, Texas, confessed surprise at how much the findings “relate to my own shortcomings as a teacher” at a school with a 98 percent Latino student body. Read more.

Post-Election, School Collaborates with Parents to Create Safe Space


The morning after the election, Principal Alethea Bustillo arrived to a school full of distraught staff and worried students. She spent much of the day checking in on every classroom in the building. The public elementary school (DCPS) serves mostly Latino and African American families in one of D.C.’s most racially and economically diverse neighborhoods. Bustillo noted,  “What I saw made me really hopeful. The teachers were talking with the kids in a positive way and were allowing the kids to talk about… Read more.

Teaching Radical Hope


The young people marching near our office in D.C. (and around the country) have given us what author Junot Diaz describes as “radical hope,” the hope that was deferred last week. They also have given us tens of thousands of reasons to carry on. In his essay in the New Yorker, Diaz added,  “And while we’re doing the hard, necessary work of mourning, we should avail ourselves of the old formations that have seen us through darkness. We organize. We form solidarities. And, yes: we fight. To be heard. To be safeRead more.

Wind Me Up Maria: A Go-Go Musical


We were overjoyed to hear that one of the students from a “Teach the Beat” class, Myiah Smith, is the star of the new musical, “Wind Me Up Maria: A Go-Go Musical.” High school teacher Bill Stevens wrote to tell us that Smith, now at Georgetown University, learned a lot from reading The Beat and from the author visit by Charles Stephenson when she was a student at SEED Public Charter School last year. Stephenson visited the school as part of Teaching for Change’s “Teach the Beat” program… Read more.

Between Families and Schools: Creating Meaningful Relationships


Teaching for Change is pleased to announce a new edition of Between Families and Schools: Building Meaningful Relationships. The publication addresses two key questions facing schools today: “How do we get more parents involved in our schools?” and “How do we enhance collaboration and communication between parents and teachers?”Between Families and Schools is based on the findings of an action research project on family engagement, complete with stories, suggested actions, and questions… Read more.

African American Art and History


On October 13, 2016 Teaching for Change was honored to partner with the Smithsonian American Art Museum for Art and the African American Experience, a program for teachers in celebration of the 2016 grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The goal for the evening was to share classroom lessons on African American art that challenge and transcend traditional textbook narratives. National teacher of the year, Jahana Hayes, expressed in her opening… Read more.

“One of the Best Nonprofits” According to Catalogue for Philanthropy


We are pleased to announce that the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington has selected Teaching for Change for the 2016-2017 catalog. The mission of the Catalogue is “to create strong and vibrant communities by connecting caring citizens with worthy community causes.” The Catalogue is distributed to tens of thousands of potential donors each year. Read more.

KidsPost Says Slavery was a “Mistake”


The September 14 edition of the KidsPost featured an article on Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who are taking a knee during the National Anthem. While we commend the Washington Post for addressing this topic in the kid’s section of their paper, their approach mis-educates the reader. Here is the explanation by Fred Bowen in the KidsPost for why people have spoken up throughout U.S. history: The United States is a great country. But countries, like people, make mistakes. The United States has made plenty… Read more.

A People’s Collection and Narrative: NMAAHC


The board and staff of Teaching for Change offer our profound respect and heartfelt appreciation to everyone who worked tirelessly and against all odds to build the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). We’ve seen first hand how precious objects from people’s attics and ancestors can now tell a story for the world to learn from. Here are just a few examples of contributions from our colleagues in the D.C. area to NMAAHC. Read more.

Abolish Columbus Day Campaign


As the school year begins, an inspiring struggle is playing out in North Dakota. Led by the Standing Rock Sioux, Indigenous people from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico are gathering to oppose the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. Dave Archambault, chairperson of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, explains: “[I]t is a pipeline that is threatening the lives of people, lives of my tribe, as well as millions down the river. It threatens the ancestral sites… Read more.

Teaching About the #NoDAPL Water Protectors


One of the greatest organizing efforts to protect land, human rights, and the future of this planet is taking place this month in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux, joined now by members of more than 200 other Native American tribes and other allies, are taking a stand to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline, which threatens to destroy sacred land and contaminate water supplies in the region. Read more.

Back to School with New Social Justice Books


This summer we’ve had a chance to check out some new titles for elementary, middle, and high school students. We share them here with you. We also encourage you to join us in following the Reading While White (RWW) blog. In celebration of their first anniversary, RWW will review an #OwnVoices title each day for the month of September. They explained, “Rather than talking about what’s wrong in children’s and YA books, we’re going to talk about what’s right. Read more.

Athletes, Protest, and Patriotism

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” has provoked a national conversation about athletes, protest, and patriotism. We share resources below for learning more about the history of protest in sports, the Star-Spangled Banner, and the Movement for Black Lives. Kaepernick explained why he will not stand for the anthem: I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color… Read more.

Teaching About Elections


This year’s presidential election is filling the airwaves with hate speech, both subtle and overt. While shocking and scary, it is sadly not new. Institutionalized racism, classism, sexism, and xenophobia have permeated elections throughout U.S. history. To help provide that historical context, we share below some lessons, articles, and books for the classroom about elections and voting rights. 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. One Sunday each month teachers meet to write and revise stories with the goal of each participant preparing a piece for publication. Teachers receive coaching through a variety of writing exercises, and participants provide ongoing feedback to each other. In addition, guest authors attend some of the sessions to share insights and experiences related to… Read more.

Américas Award 2016 Ceremony and Workshop

America Awards

The 2016 Américas Award ceremony will be held on September 22 from 2:30 – 4:30pm at the Library of Congress Mumford Room. The award winners are Out of Darkness by Ashley Perez and Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The ceremony is free and open to the public. School groups are welcome. In conjunction with the award, there will be a K-12 teacher workshop with award-winning author Alma Flor Ada on September 22 at 6:30pm. A $25 registration fee includes dinner and a book. Read more.

Why I Volunteered at Teaching for Change


My name is Andy Grayson and I am a third grade classroom teacher in Alexandria, Virginia. This summer I began volunteering with Teaching for Change, an organization that I became familiar with after attending a district workshop focused on incorporating accurate Central American history into classroom curriculums. I attended the workshop in early November, at a time when I was beginning to feel distant from my curriculum, as if it was running away and I was chasing after it. Read more.

Teaching for Change 2016 Summer Reading and Writing Challenge


Teaching for Change challenges young people to read as many books as they can over the summer – especially multicultural and social justice books. We also encourage young people and their caregivers to examine the representation of Native Americans and people of color in the Scholastic catalog. Share our resources for examining books through the lens of critical literacy, and this summer set a goal to submit a letter to the #StepUpScholastic campaign. Read more.

G is for Gentrification


In Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, public schools that served predominantly low-income students and students of color are seeing massive demographic shifts as wealthier and more formally educated families are attracted to the school neighborhoods. Gentrification can add to the challenges traditionally marginalized families—namely those from Black, Latino, immigrant, and low income communities—face when engaging with schools. Read more.

My Third Graders Love Reading “Wilfredo”

Third grade teacher Andy Grayson wrote to tell us that he was thrilled to share Wilfredo: Un niño de El Salvador/A Boy from El Salvador with his students. He learned about the free downloadable book in a Teaching for Change workshop sponsored by the Alexandria City Public Schools. “After reading Wilfredo, I observed increased discourse and engagement from a wider range of students. Students whose families have immigrated from Central America were eager to make connections.” Read more.

Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Endorses Teaching “Climate Justice”


In May, the Portland, Oregon school board passed the country’s first comprehensive “climate justice” resolution. In July the country’s largest union, the National Education Association (NEA), voted at its national convention to support the Portland resolution and to encourage state and local affiliates to create and promote climate literacy resolutions in their own communities, using the Portland resolution as a model. Read more.

Third Graders Assess and Improve Diversity of Classroom Library


Third grade students at High Tech Elementary North County in San Marcos, California completed an investigation into the diversity of our classroom library. Our investigation question was: How diverse is our classroom library? We created a data set, and compared the groups using number lines, fractions and percentages. Read more.

Virginia Middle School Students Critique Lack of Diverse Books


Sixth and seventh grade reading students at Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Virginia researched the lack of diversity in children’s and young adult books and designed action projects. Read more.

Joy, Justice, and Generosity: Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching for Change


D.C. area allies and supporters gathered to celebrate and reflect on 25 years of Teaching for Change on the evening of June 29, 2016. Event guests heard from noted educators Greg Carr (Howard University) and Enid Lee (co-editor of Beyond Heroes and Holidays) as well as legendary go-go performers Ju-Ju and Sweet Cherie. Teaching for Change was proud to honor individuals and organizations whose work connects education, multiculturalism, and social justice with our Education for Liberation Award. Read more.

Smithsonian Visitors Learn about Go-Go and Teach the Beat


On June 18, 2016, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation sponsored a program called “Hip Hop and Go-Go: Community Innovations” at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Attendees enjoyed a live musical performance and learned from panelists Biz Markie, Donnell Floyd, D-Nice, and Charles Stephenson. Read more.

Stories from Our Classrooms Celebration


On June 12, 2016, Teaching for Change celebrated the work of the teachers from our inaugural Stories from Our Classrooms social justice teacher writing group. Every month on a Sunday, social justice teacher writers came together to write, reflect, and share. Read more.

Enid Lee in D.C. for Teaching for Change Fellowship

Nationally renowned educator Enid Lee will be in D.C. for the month of July as a Teaching for Change fellow.While in D.C., Enid will confer with Teaching for Change staff and board about our programs, contribute to the new editions of Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching and Beyond Heroes and Holidays, prepare blog posts on key issues in education and current events, and speak at a number of events. Read more.

Join us for 25 Live: A Teaching for Change Celebration

We invite you to join Teaching for Change on June 29, 2016 in D.C. for fun, food, and fellowship as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and honor key allies. Read more.

Teaching for Change to Develop Rosenwald Teaching Guide

Teaching for Change has been invited by the Rosenwald filmmaker to develop a teaching guide for the documentary. The little known history of Julius Rosenwald and the Rosenwald Fund provides an excellent opportunity to explore a number of key themes in U.S. history including the purpose and funding of public education, the Great Migration, Red Summer, the politics of housing, philanthropy, and much more. Read more.

What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement After 1965? Don’t Ask Your Textbook

Fifty years ago, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chairperson Stokely Carmichael made the famous call for “Black Power.” Carmichael’s speech came in the midst of the “March Against Fear,” a walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to encourage African Americans to use their newly won right to vote. But while almost every middle and high school student learns about the Civil Rights Movement, they rarely learn about this march—or the related struggles that continued long after the Voting Rights Act. Read more.

Thank You Julian Hipkins III

 Julian Hipkins III at the Schomburg 360 workshop on the MFDP.
In his two years at Teaching for Change, Julian Hipkins III made a tremendous impact on our work in D.C., Mississippi, and across the country. An award-winning U.S. history teacher, Hipkins brought with him experience in teaching people’s history, a love of go-go, years of coaching students for National History Day competitions, and a deep interest in D.C. history. 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.

Filmfest DC 2016 Goes to D.C. Classrooms

On this fifth year of Teaching for Change’s partnership with Filmfest DC: The Washington, DC International Film Festival, we brought five of the films to D.C. classrooms in April of 2016. Read more.

History Lesson Sheds Light on Racism Today

“The Color Line” lesson by Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow is featured in a Washington Post article, “How American oligarchs created the concept of race to divide and conquer the poor” by Courtland Milloy Jr. The lesson is on colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. History teacher and Teaching for Change staff member Julian Hipkins III was interviewed for the article. Read more.

We Want to Hear from YOU: Survey on Civil Rights Teaching

Putting the Movement back into Civil Rights Teaching
Teaching for Change is working with partner organizations to develop and share more resources for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement. These lessons and primary documents will be made available online for free for classroom teachers and students. To inform this effort, Teaching for Change is conducting a survey on teaching about the Civil Rights Movement, including commonly used resources, time periods, purpose, and challenges. Read more.

D.C. Parent Organizing Featured in 2016 AERA Conference Offsite Visits

D.C. Parent Organizing Featured in 2016 AERA Conference Offsite Visits

Teaching for Change partnered twice with local researchers and education organizers to give AERA conference attendees a glimpse of the parent organizing and family engagement work happening locally. Teaching for Change placed family engagement in the broader context of gentrification in D.C. during the AERA offsite session,  “Fighting for the Right to the City.” Read more.

StepUpScholastic for ALL Children

More than 50% of the children enrolled in public schools are people of color or Native American, but only 14% of children’s books published in 2014 were by or about people of color. Unfortunately, Scholastic’s catalog is no exception. Join us in the #StepUpScholastic for ALL children campaign. Write a letter today. Read more.

Climate Justice Teacher Workshop in D.C.

While the climate crisis threatens the lives of millions of people around the world, it gets scant mention in textbooks. More than 30 DC area elementary and high school teachers spent a day of their own time learning how to teach this hidden history and current reality. They attended a workshop on Saturday, April 9, 2016, facilitated by Rethinking Schools curriculum editor Bill Bigelow and co-hosted by Teaching for Change and the Zinn Education Project with funding from the Lannan Foundation. Read more.

Why Are All the Kids Who Look Like Me Enslaved?

Teaching for Change is partnering with American Indians in Children’s Literature and Ferguson Response Network to collect letters to Scholastic telling them to publish and distribute children’s books that reflect and affirm the identity, history, and lives of ALL children in our schools. We have received thoughtful letters from all over the country. Read more.

2016 Food Justice Youth Summit

On April 7, 2016, 11th graders at Capital City Public Charter School hosted the 2nd Annual Food Justice Youth Summit to build awareness about food justice issues, both nationally and locally, at Friends Meeting House of Washington. This year’s event featured keynote speaker, Lauren Nixon, a food and wellness educator, and more than 20 student-led sessions on topics ranging from GMOs and food labels, to factory farming and the intersection of food and race, with such creative titles as “Don’t Eat it! Just Beat it!” and “Can You Taste the GMO?” Read more.

How Parent Volunteers Inspired a Young Reader

On the first day of Roving Readers, Brian sat at the back with Ms. Prater as the parents and caregivers took their seats in a long row on the reading carpet. By then his literacy skills were improving, but his interest remained low. He watched as each of the parents opened up copies of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type/Clic Clac Muu Vacas Escritoras and took turns reading in English and in Spanish. He moved from the back of the carpet where we were sitting, all the way up front so he was sitting right at their feet. Read more.

A Tribute to Dr. Marta Palacios


As a mother and grandmother, an immigrant, and a champion of bilingual education, Dr. Palacios has worked tirelessly all her life to advance education and social justice. Teaching for Change joins the Bruce Monroe Elementary at Park View (BMPV) community in honoring the life and legacy of educator Dr. Marta Palacios. For nearly a decade, we have had the honor of collaborating with Palacios on parent organizing. Read more.

Schools Welcome Parents as Partners with Academic Classroom Visits

Parents are welcomed to the school and receive an overview of what their kids are learning and what they should expect to see when visiting the classroom. After observing a typical lesson, parents are invited to comment on what they notice and ask questions. By giving family members a window into classroom life and an opportunity to offer feedback, Academic Classroom Visits build trust, communication, and shared understanding between families and the school, building partnerships that promote students’ academic achievement. Read more.

New Edition of Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching


Teaching for Change will publish a new edition of the award-winning Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching this year.The content will be completely re-organized and much of the material will be new. We are currently making our final selections for the book, and we are soliciting lessons and teaching activities. Read more.

Women’s History Month: A Book Every Day


In honor of Women’s History Month, each day Teaching for Change will feature a children’s book we recommend to highlight grassroots women’s history. Check back for our recommended titles, and follow us on Facebook for daily posts. Read more.

#StepUpScholastic for ALL Children Flier

The #StepUpScholastic campaign is off to a great start with hundreds of letters coming in from all over the U.S. We encourage you to read selected letters and then write your own. We share with you a flier for teachers and parents to promote the #StepUpScholastic campaign in schools. Read more.


Natalie Hopkinson’s Wisdom About Writing

Natalie Hopkinson was the featured guest presenter for the March session of Stories from Our Classrooms, a course for D.C. area social justice teachers who are writing for publication. Hopkinson, a talented writer who addresses issues of race, culture, and education, spoke about her own experiences as a writer and getting published. Teachers asked questions about everything from capitalization norms to how to write the truth about a system that one is part of. Read more.

Special D.C. History Guest at E.L. Haynes

World famous after her visit to the White House for the 2016 Black History Month reception, Ms. Virginia McLaurin spoke with D.C. history classes at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School on March 16, 2016. McLaurin was born in South Carolina and came to D.C. during the Great Migration. Read more.


#StepUpScholastic Twitter Chat

On February 29, Leslie Mac of Ferguson Response Network hosted a twitter chat on the #StepUpScholastic campaign. There was a rich and lively exchange among educators, parents, authors, and other activists as they weighed in on a series of questions about the campaign. Questions ranged from “why target Scholastic” to “what person(s) or moment(s) from your history or culture do you want to see in a Scholastic flyer?” Read more.

Anacostia Museum Workshop on Go-Go


On Friday, February 12, twenty teachers took part in a workshop on go-go at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and toured the new exhibit Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington, 1963-1975 on February 12, 2016. Led by Teaching for Change staff Julian Hipkins III and Deborah Menkart, participants experienced the go-go lessons available online for teachers to download. Read more.

“It Was Like a Visit from the President”: Timothy Jenkins Talks to 5th Graders


Rachel Hull’s 5th graders were studying the founding of the United States from various perspectives in a unit called “Know Your Rights.” Through their analysis of primary sources and research, they began to uncover a version of history that was missing from their textbooks. To deepen their knowledge, they invited Teaching for Change board member Timothy Jenkins as a guest speaker. Read more.

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