Racial Justice Curriculum Development Initiative

This extracurricular community engagement program, run online during 2020-2021 and in a hybrid format during  Summer 2021 and beyond, is designed to serve Williams students’ civic aspirations by providing the opportunity to engage in racial justice work in partnership with local schools and Berkshire County-based advocacy organizations.

All fellows work in K-12 racial justice curriculum development at either the pre-K, elementary, middle, or high school level. Most work in teams with local K-12 educators who guide them in their work addressing gaps and inaccuracies in K-12 curriculum through the creation and adaptation of learning modules and exercises. The curricula they create are immediately usable in K-12 schools in Berkshire County and Massachusetts and also appropriate for schools and community education programs anywhere in the U.S.

The projects, including supplemental resources, are all being posted here, and eventually will be shared via the Berkshire County Education Task Force online curriculum resource library.

2020-2021 Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellows’ names are listed below.  To learn more about their projects, please click on the “+” to expand the content areas.

  • As a math and chemistry double major, I was excited to have the opportunity to help out with middle school social studies curriculum this year. For my work as a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked with a social studies teacher at Mt. Greylock, developing curriculum centered around Indigenous identity, history, and culture. In particular, we created a two-week unit focused on identity, community, belonging, and cultural survivance through the lens of Indigenous history. We also worked on coming up with shorter activities for students to continue deepening their understandings of Indigenous history, particularly in the local area. Overall, it was a great experience to be able to work directly with a local teacher on curriculum development and I am excited to see how the first use of our resources goes in the fall!

  • Michelle GarciaMy project centered on designing a 5th grade curriculum that abides by Massachusetts state educational standards. This entailed learning basic digital drawing, biography writing, video lesson creation, and language skill applications. First, the coloring book focused on introducing 5th graders to influential PoC figures who have been overlooked by Eurocentrism in traditional K-12 curriculums, especially history. Second, I chose Wu Chien Shiung, one of the heroes I included in the coloring book, as the main focus for the video lessons I created in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. The interdisciplinary video lesson included a book reading of Queen of Physics, by Teresa Robeson, which provides an engaging interdisciplinary lesson on humanities and sciences. It provides lessons on history of women and the plight of Asian-Americans facing racism in the USA and introduces basics physics concepts to students. The video lesson then encourages students to chose a hero of their own interest and to write an argumentative essay as to why they are important and worth learning about. This should ingrain the concept that any person of any race, ethnicity, gender, etc., is worth learning from, thus furthering justice for all. I hope other students make similar lessons!

  • Bless ReeceAs a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow this past year, my partner and I decided that we would pursue two different topics and form our own lesson plans/recommendations/projects as well as come together to formulate a project at the intersection of our two subjects. I pursued the topic of housing inequality. The topic of housing in the United States provides a great point of intersection among racial inequality, financial literacy, and current day events such as gentrification and continued school segregation. Illuminating a student's knowledge of housing creates a foundation to interpret current day issues and policy interventions. For example, in comprehending how both de facto segregation and de jure segregation persist past Brown v. Board of Education (1954) students will be able to connect and better tackle today’s educational inequalities. This report shares resources that I found while conducting my own research on housing inequality, as well as other schools’ and educators’ methods of introducing this topic in their own classrooms. I provided a list of key terms that students will be able to use for guidance during their studies, both in and outside of this topic. I also provided book and article suggestions that do exemplary work of explaining these policies and their current effects. You will also find a series of videos, lesson plans, primary resources, and activities I have curated/created that can be integrated into various lesson plans. I hope that these resources serve as an educational foundation and a new learning opportunity for all of you!

  • Hazel RichardsI am a History, Comparative Literature, and French major. As an aspiring educator, I think that education is a key part of our society and its progression towards equality and equity. As a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked on the Voting Rights Curriculum team. We worked with students at Pittsfield High School to create a humanities curriculum about voting rights that follows Massachusetts state standards. The lesson plan that I made was about the NAACP, AFL-CIO, NEA, and League of Women Voters. We focused on engaging students and their critical thinking skills.

  • I am a senior majoring in English with a concentration in Africana Studies. As a Racial Justice Community Outreach Fellow, I worked with high school students in Pittsfield to develop curriculum around voter suppression. We ended up creating a series of lesson plans, as well as one or two larger interactive projects.