Current News

Teaching for Change Launches “Freedom Reads” Video Series for Parents and Educators

Teaching for Change, which launched SocialJusticeBooks.org in 2017 to identify and promote the best multicultural and social justice children’s books, launched a new video series, Freedom Reads: Anti-Bias Book Talk. Freedom Reads, a collection of short videos that give caregivers, parents, and educators the tools to evaluate children’s books using an anti-racist and anti-bias lens. Read more.


More Interviews: Good Morning America and PTO Today

Good Morning America and PTO Today are among the latest news outlets to reach out to Teaching for Change for expertise on racism in public education. Read the articles for insights from Deborah Menkart on teaching Black history and anti-racism, and Allyson Criner Brown on racial equity in parent-teacher organizations.


NMAI Indigenous People’s Day Teach-In Save the Date and Survey

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and Teaching for Change will host the annual Indigenous People’s Day Teach-In online on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The focus this year is environmental justice, in particular food and climate. Please take a few minutes to respond to this short survey. The most important question is about the workshops you are interested in. Those are the ones we’ll select to offer. Learn more.


Social Justice Books Featured on CNN Sesame Street Town Hall

Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? , was a special guest on the CNN Sesame Street Town Hall “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” on Saturday, June 6. Tatum (featured in part 2 at 6.55 minutes ) responded to a question from a parent about how to teach young children to be anti-racist in an age-appropriate way. Tatum said there are children’s books that can help young children understand and celebrate differences in skin color… Read more.


Teaching About Voting Rights: Online Resources

This year marks 150 years since the 15th Amendment promised: “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Following the Amendment’s adoption, white supremacists waged a campaign of disenfranchisement to destroy its impact. After decades of struggle, through legal action, civil disobedience, and mass politics, the 1965 Voting Rights Act… Learn more.


Diversity in Children’s Books Graphic Distribution

The 2018 Diversity in Children’s Literature graphic (produced by Sarah Park Dahlen and Mike Huyck) is now available as a full color postcard. Request copies from Teaching for Change to disseminate at workshops, conferences, and other public events.  Please donate so that we can disseminate cards everywhere. Read more.


Welcome to 2020 Summer Interns

Teaching for Change staff and board welcome our three interns for the summer of 2020: Shiloah Symone Coley (just graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison this spring with a Journalism Bachelor of Arts and minors in Studio Art and African American Studies); Kassandra “Kassie” Colón (just graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Geography); and Daniela Shia-Sevilla (a rising senior at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a major in Latin American Studies). Read more.


Teaching People’s History in the Pandemic

While schools operate remotely in the midst of the pandemic, we remain committed to supporting the teaching of people’s history. Here is a collection of resource recommendations from the Zinn Education Project that we coordinate with Rethinking Schools. Read more.


People’s Historians Online: Spring 2020

Fridays have become a time to look forward to learning through stories about people’s history, to meeting other educators, and to finding a road map forward in the midst of this pandemic. As one participant said, “Thank you for getting us together and giving me hope that we are not alone, and that we can think and act ourselves out of this pandemic.” The Zinn Education Project staff, in collaboration with Jeanne Theoharis, have scheduled more sessions for May and June. Read about sessions to date and sign up for upcoming ones.


Hair Representation in Children’s Literature

D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, Communities for Just Schools Fund, and the Early Childhood Initiative at the National Museum of African American History and Culture offered a workshop on hair representation in children’s books on November 2, 2019. Read more.


DCPS School, Families Continue Monthly Gathering Virtually

Bright smiles, children waving, and parents checking on each other was the introduction to this virtual parent meeting held on April 7, 2020. Principal Nikeysha Jackson and her team recreated a virtual version of our signature Parent-Principal Chat activity as a way for West Education Campus (DCPS) school staff and teachers to check in with one another amidst COVID-19 and the new distant learning practices that has swept schools. Parent-Principal Chats are always a team effort at West. Several administrators… Learn more.


Equity and Family Engagement COVID-19 Resources – A Brief List

In a rejection of the term “social distancing,” our colleague, Kwesi Rollins, of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), recently stated that while we may have to be physically distant during this challenging time, it doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t remain socially connected.  Teaching for Change staff and social justice-minded educators across borders are also mindful that this is not a time to abandon equity as a guiding principle or strategy in our efforts to support students and families. Learn more.


Who Gets to Vote? Teaching About the Struggle for Voting Rights in the United States

2020 is both an election year and the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 15th Amendment, making it an important time to invite our students to consider the history of voting rights in the United States. The struggle for the ballot is emblematic of the struggle to make real the democratic promises of this country’s founding narrative. Just as the United States has never been a true “government by the people, for the people,” the right to vote has always been incomplete, contested, and compromised by the racism… Learn more.


Go-Go Becomes D.C.’s Official Music

On February 19, go-go became the official music of Washington, D.C.! This important legislation requires the mayor’s office to produce, fund, and implement programs that support the preservation and creation of go-go music — and the culture and history it represents. At Teaching for Change, we are honored to partner with D.C. area schools, musicians, and authors on our Teach the Beat project, which provides lessons and facilitates classroom visits from go-go musicians that help D.C. area… Learn more.


Discussion of “Pipeline” and the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

On Friday, February 7, at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., audience members gathered for a post-play discussion of Dominique Morisseau’s play Pipeline, a drama following a family navigating through systems of racism in public and private school. Teaching for Change Associate Director, Allyson Criner Brown, and Ashley Williams, a high school history teacher and BYP100 DC member, engulfed in conversation that critically explored observations and drew connections from Pipeline to the annual Black Lives… Learn more.


What Happens in a Lockdown? Parent-Principal Chats Bring Community Together to Discuss Emergencies and Safety

On January 23, 2020, parents and caregivers from West Education Campus (DCPS) gathered with staff for January’s Principal Coffee. The monthly meeting, drawing from Teaching for Change’s Parent-Principal Chats signature activity, is usually a fun and informative gathering for the West community. This day, Principal Niyeka Jackson and team used the opportunity to discuss and answer questions about lockdowns and safety procedures, after an incident at a nearby school caused West to go into lockdown some days… Read more.


Teaching for Change 2019 Highlights

We are pleased to share selected highlights from Teaching for Change’s work in 2019. Our work is made possible by the ongoing support of allies like you. Help us deepen our impact by sharing these stories (as well as our resources for parents and teachers) as we continue building social justice, starting in the classroom. Please make a donation to ensure that we can continue this work in 2020. Read more.


Multilingual Parent Read-Alouds Impact Students at Thomson Elementary

On December 13, 2019, parents gathered in the parent center at Thomson Elementary School (DCPS) to review books in preparation for Roving Readers, a signature activity of Teaching for Change’s family engagement project. Thomson parents have been participating in Roving Readers for so many years that having parents read in the classroom has become a part of the school culture. The multilingual aspect of the program, particularly at a school with a very diverse population like Thomson, is a big draw… Read more.


Dads Read About Teamwork at Langdon Elementary

On November 13, 2019, seven enthusiastic Langdon Elementary (DCPS) parents – led by an all-star group of Langdon fathers – came together to read Swimmy, by Leo Lionni, to three pre-K classes as a part of Teaching for Change’s Roving Readers program. Swimmy is a story that celebrates difference and teaches about the power of community organizing and collective action. Roving Readers is a signature activity of Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized family engagement approach in which parents… Read more.


New Report Recognizes Our Tellin’ Stories Project as “Transformative Family Engagement”

A publication based on the findings from an evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) Family Engagement cohort was released in July 2019, and features stories and lessons from the Tellin’ Stories Project, Teaching for Change’s nationally recognized approach to family engagement.The report, titled Cultivating a Community of Champions for Children Through Transformative Family Engagement, as described by the Kellogg Foundation, shows how equity-based family engagement helps parents and caretakers… Learn more.


What Principals Gained from the 2019 Equity and Family Engagement Summer Institute

Teaching for Change launched its first summer institute focused on principals and school leaders in Washington, D.C., from July 23-25, 2019. Sixteen principals and assistant principals from DC Public Schools (DCPS) and Arlington Public Schools (APS) gathered for the Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Summer Institute for Principals. The goal of the principal institute was to teach participants to apply an asset-based lens to family engagement that is grounded in popular education, community organizing… Read more.


Challenged and Appreciative: Teachers Rethink, Reflect, and Refresh During Summer Institute

From June 25-27, 2019, just days after the school year officially ended, sixteen dedicated educators gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Summer Institute for Teachers and Staff. The goal of the summer institute was to teach participants to apply an asset-based lens to family engagement that is grounded in popular education, community organizing, racial equity, and family engagement research. During the three-day summer institute, participants pushed past comfort zones… Read more.


2020 NEH Institute on the Grassroots History of Civil Rights Movement

Teaching for Change is proud to partner with a team of scholars, veterans, and educators from Duke University and the SNCC Legacy Project on a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute, The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives, in the summer of 2020. Participants (classroom teachers in grades 7-12) will learn the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement and receive resources and strategies to bring it home to their students. They will have the unique opportunity… Read more.


New Lisa Delpit Book Features Teaching for Change Essay on Engaging Black Parents

Allyson Criner Brown, Teaching for Change’s associate director and manager of the Tellin’ Stories parent empowerment project, reflects on family engagement in a moving essay for Teaching When the World Is on Fire, edited by Lisa Delpit (The New Press, 2019). Criner Brown, a former middle school teacher who has led the nationally recognized Tellin’ Stories Project since 2010, writes in her essay “Engaging and Embracing Black Parents”: Looking back on my time in the front of the classroom… Read more.


Educators Nationwide Teach about Central America
October 7-13, 2019

Educators across the country participated in #TeachCentralAmerica week from October 7 – 13, 2019. More than four million Central Americans reside in the United States and migration from the region is headline news. However, most schools teach very little about Central America, including the long history of U.S. involvement in the region. Read about responses to the Teach Central America Week from educators across the U.S. Read more.


Jorge Argueta Launches New Young Adult Book About the Caravan from Central America

On October 7, Jorge Argueta, a native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian poet and writer of bilingual children’s books shared his moving personal story and read his recently released title Caravan to the North, which brought together an audience of educators, students, community members, and families. Caravan to the North details the first-person narrative of Misael Martínez, a young Salvadoran boy who joins the caravan to travel north to the United States. The book describes Misael’s journey and the wide range of emotions he experiences as an illustration… Read more.


2019 Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum Teach-In New York

On September 28, 2019, nearly 150 educators gathered for the 2019 Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum Teach-in hosted by Teaching for Change and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian New York. The day was filled with talks and workshops on teaching about Indigenous peoples’ histories and experiences today. Speakers and workshops featured classroom resources for K-12 from Native Knowledge 360°, NMAI’s initiative to transform teaching and learning about American Indians… Read more.


Polk Elementary School Hosts Teacher Mini-Conference on Central America

As the buzzing energy of a new school year filled the gym at James K. Polk Elementary School, staff arrived for a full-day professional development on Central America. On August 27, 2019, staff engaged in descriptive and informative sessions that detailed the history of Central America to provide background context about many of the students and families they serve, as well as interactive workshops with hands-on activities and strategies to teach Central America through art and children’s literature. Read more.


‘Tackling Bias in Family Engagement’ Workshop Fills the Room

The attendees began trickling into the room early, and by the time the workshop started, staff were pulling more chairs into the room to seat more than 80 people. The participants were attendees of the 2019 National Family and Community Engagement Conference, hosted by Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) from July 10-12 in Reno, Nevada. Teaching for Change’s session this year, “Tackling Bias in School-Based Family Engagement,” was led by associate director Allyson Criner Brown. The workshop was designed… Read more.


Teaching for Change Offers Summer Workshop for Every DCPS School Leader

We were overjoyed and humbled by the invitation this summer for Teaching for Change to offer professional development for every single DCPS principal, assistant principal, and instructional coach – 750 people in all. For close to 30 years, Teaching for Change has offered workshops and institutes in collaboration with specific departments and individual schools in DCPS. But this year, we were asked to develop and facilitate a workshop for the annual district-wide Summer Leadership Institute to follow the powerful… Read more.


Carter Conference 2019: Teaching about the Beauty, Power, and Resistance of Black History

On July 26 and 27, more than 250 educators gathered in Columbia, Missouri at the 2019 Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education Conference to share strategies, resources, and lessons around the theme 400 Years and Counting: Teaching Slavery and its Afterlife. In conference host Dr. LaGarrett King’s message to attendees, he commented that although teaching about enslavement is difficult, the aim of the conference is to help educators think about crafting curriculum and honing… Read more.


A Day of Transformation and Growth: Indigenous Peoples’ Day Curriculum Teach-In 2019

As attendees walked into the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday, September 7th, the sun beamed through the central atrium and shined a light through a prism, where a rainbow reflection danced on the ground. Lead design consultant for the museum, JohnPaul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw) described that this construction was intentional and is grounded in Indigenous Peoples’ connections with the earth as a representation of transformation and growth. Read more.


Teaching How to Combat Hate: Drawing Lessons from Stories of Survivors

“The mainstream news media often covers the lives of the perpetrators of hate crimes in great detail, but seldom do we hear the voices of the victims,” Arjun Sethi explained to the close to 20 teachers gathered for a workshop on his book, American Hate: Survivors Speak Out (The New Press, 2018)The workshop was held on the evening of May 9, 2019 at the historic Thurgood Marshall YMCA. Teachers arrived to a beautiful spread of humus, grape leaves, baklava, and more delicious food donated by the Virginia based Mediterranean Bakery and Café. Read more.


Welcome to Our New Board Members

The Teaching for Change board and staff are pleased to welcome Nancy Raquel Mirabal and Tiffany Mitchell Patterson to the board of directors. Both of them have been long-time allies of the organization and will now bring their invaluable expertise to the strategic planning and governance of Teaching for Change. Nancy is a historian with expertise in Latinx and Afro-diasporic studies, and Tiffany is a teacher educator with a focus on secondary social studies instruction. Read more about them below. Read more.


Uplifting Stories from Our Classrooms

On March 14, 2019, eight D.C. teachers reminded everyone of the joys of teaching with moving stories from their classrooms. The event was organized by Stories from Our Classrooms alumni and held in the American Poetry Museum in the Brookland neighborhood of D.C. The space was filled to standing room only with fellow teachers, family members, and other guests including a representative from the National Gallery of Art and two representatives from Southern Echo in Mississippi. Read more.


The Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement 2019 National Summer Institutes

The Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Summer Institutes will teach participants to apply an asset-based lens to family engagement that is grounded in popular education, community organizing, racial equity, and family engagement research. The summer institutes are based on the yearlong Tellin’ Stories Race, Equity, and Family Engagement Seminar and draw from research and in-school experience. Read more and apply.


New Website: Story of the Virginia Interscholastic
Association (VIA)

We are proud to announce the launch of the Story of the Virginia Interscholastic Association (VIA) website. From 1954-1970, the VIA provided athletic, art, academic, and leadership opportunities for African-American high school students in Virginia. The story of the VIA is the inspiring story of African-American parents, educators, and schools working together to provide enriching extracurricular opportunities for students despite racial, social and economic barriers. Read more.


Women’s History Month: A Book Every Day

In honor of Women’s History Month, each day Social Justice Books is featuring a children’s book we recommend to highlight grassroots women’s history in the United States. Read more.


Whitewashed Colonial History Children’s Book Still in Print

On the last day of Black History Month, children at a predominantly African American elementary school in D.C. were each given a book to keep. The title given to the daughter of one of our Teaching for Change staff was If You Lived in Colonial Times (Scholastic, 1992). While this outrageous book all but erases African Americans and demonizes Native Americans, it ironically came along with an “I am Black History” bookmark. Here is our critique of the book. (We could also critique the assumption… Read more.


Thank You Nqobile Mthethwa

The range and depth of Nqobile Mthethwa’s contributions to our work in the D.C. metro area and nationally have been enormous. As she leaves to do refugee work this spring, we express our heartfelt appreciation for her dedication, wisdom, creativity, and hard work. Nqobile’s fellowship coincided with the launch of new initiatives at Teaching for Change and the Zinn Education Project. Therefore, she not only stepped into the daily work, but she also helped shape it. Here is a brief outline of just a few… Read more.


D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

From February 4-8, 2019, Teaching for Change’s D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, D.C. area educators, and community members collaborated on the D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. About 400 pre-K to 12 teachers from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia participated. Read stories from their classrooms.


Taking the Stage at NMAAHC to Discuss Representation in Children’s Literature

On December 15, 2018, Teaching for Change joined an important dialogue about representation in children’s literature on-stage at the Oprah Winfrey Theater in the National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The museum’s Early Childhood Education Initiative collaborated with the events department to celebrate the re-release of James Baldwin’s only children’s book Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. Baldwin based the work on his nephew and niece… Read more.


Teaching for Change in 2018

We are pleased to share selected highlights from Teaching for Change’s work in 2018. Our work is made possible by the ongoing support of allies like you. Help us deepen our impact by sharing these stories (as well as our resources for parents and teachers) as we continue building social justice, starting in the classroom. Read more.


Teaching for Change Featured in Sir Ken Robinson’s New Book on Family Engagement

Sir Ken Robinson is the internationally acclaimed educator and author who caught the attention of many with a viral video that illustrated his 2014 TED Talk, “Changing Education Paradigms.” Robinson has continued to write and speak about the challenges and opportunities in education since then, and in 2018 published a new book that focuses on how families can support their children’s success. His latest title with co-author Lou Aronica, You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education… Read more.


A Better Way to Teach the Civil Rights Movement

This summer, Teaching for Change was proud to partner with a team of scholars, veterans, and educators from the Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Tougaloo College on a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute, The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives from 1940-1980. Journalist Melinda Anderson spent several days at the Institute. Her article, “A Better Way to Teach the Civil Rights Movement,” was just published by Edutopia… Read more.


Challenge Islamophobia Project Introduces Lessons from Baltimore to San Francisco

Alison Kysia, project director of “Islamophobia: A people’s history teaching guide,” was invited to present at Morgan State University’s Faculty Institute in Baltimore, MD on August 9, 2018. She shared the interactive lesson on “Black Muslims in the United States: An Introductory Activity” with 175 educators and discussed ways that participatory pedagogies like the meet-and-greet can create more inclusive classrooms. Later in the month, she was in Iowa where she piloted the “What is Islamophobia?… Read more.


Thank You Faye Colon and Welcome New Staff

In this new school year, we express our profound appreciation to Faye Colon for her work with Teaching for Change where she was the founding coordinator for the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice. We also welcome new staff members Rosalie Reyes and Rachel Mehl. Faye Colon joined the Teaching for Change team in late spring of 2017. She and her family relocated to New York in the summer of 2018. In her one year on the Teaching for Change staff, she did an amazing job in establishing, nurturing…  Read more.


2018 NEH Institute on Grassroots History of Civil Rights Movement: Daily Highlights

This summer, Teaching for Change was proud to partner with a team of scholars, veterans, and educators from the Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Tougaloo College on a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Teacher Institute, The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives from 1940-1980. Thirty classroom teachers were selected from across the country to study the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement, addressing key narratives that challenge… Read more.


Highlights from Year One of D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice

On our one year anniversary, we share highlights from our accomplishments. In the spring of 2017, Teaching for Change contacted social justice educator networks from around the country to collect ideas about what they did and how they were organized. We then held focus groups to explore those ideas and shape the vision for the DC Area Educators for Social Justice and formed an advisory group. Faye Colon led this inaugural year of establishing, nurturing, and documenting the D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice. Read more.


Louise Derman-Sparks Responds to Scholastic

Many years ago, as the author of Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children, I was invited to serve on an advisory board for Scholastic to help them produce books for young children that accurately and respectfully depicted the many forms of diversity in our country. With the publication of President Donald Trump, Scholastic is not honoring their earlier commitment to diversity. For example, Trump’s campaign promise of “a better future for his supporters” actually meant… Read more.


Despite National Outrage, Scholastic Defends Children’s Book Celebrating Trump

Earlier this month we published critical reviews of the Scholastic books for early and upper elementary students about the election of President Trump. Both books present Trump’s life and the election in a celebratory tone, as summarized by this poem in the book for first and second grade. More than 800 educators, parents, librarians, and concerned citizens took action by writing to Scholastic, demanding they recall the book and publish an accurate and age-appropriate biography of Donald Trump… Read more.


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