Anti-Racist Educational Resources

A letter to students and alumni of the Educational Studies Program at Trinity College, from Professors Stefanie Wong and Jack Dougherty:

Teaching for Black Lives, from Rethinking Schools

During these recent days of protest against police brutality, we have heard from some of you who are seeking resources about anti-racist education. One alumna wrote to ask for book recommendations about race and education to share with other teachers at their school. Another wrote to ask for readings about systemic racism and white privilege to advance their own learning and to better educate white folks around them.

In response, we offer this list of resources, which are drawn from courses we have taught at Trinity, or from other educators and activists who have kindly shared their recommendations. First, let’s recognize some key principles:

• We all start from different places when learning about race and power. The paths we follow depend on our prior experiences and knowledge, how we identify ourselves racially and how other people identify us.

• We must recognize the dimensions of privilege and power we hold, especially in relation to systems of racism, white supremacy, and anti-blackness. If we have privilege, we should listen most closely to the voices of those most affected by oppression.

• At different points along our paths, we may not agree with each other. But genuine learning requires us to respect one another, and also for each of us to grow in understanding of ourselves and others.

• Reading can promote deeper reflection and insight into other people’s perspectives. But reading alone does not alter racism. We also need dialogue, experience, and thoughtful action.

Black lives matter.

Provocative readings on anti-racism and education:

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist (One World/Random House, 2019), preview at https://books.google.com/books?id=lbqkDwAAQBAJ. — When updating my Educ 309 Race Class and Ed Policy seminar a year ago, I added the introduction and first chapter from this autobiographical reflection by Kendi, whose first publication won the National Book Award. Kendi seeks to shift our focus from opposing “racist people” to challenging “racist policies,” and whether or not you agree with his approach, it will make you think. To dig further, pair his book with a critical review by Kelefa Sanneh, “The Fight to Redefine Racism,” The New Yorker, August 12, 2019. – JD

Bettina Love, We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press, 2019) — I assigned this book in my Educ 312: Education for Justice course in Spring 2020, and students really enjoyed it. Love pushes her readers to interrogate how our current education systems, as well as the reforms we often hear of to improve education, are rooted in racism and anti-blackness. Instead, she argues that educators should engage in abolitionist teaching, working in solidarity with communities of color to understand and resist oppression and nurturing joy, creativity, and resistance in young people of color. – SW

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Penguin Random House, 2015) — Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates reflects on the hopes and fears of being black in the United States. – SW

Video clips to promote deeper discussion:

Trevor Noah, “George Floyd and the Dominos of Racial Injustice,” The Daily Show, May 29, 2020, https://youtu.be/v4amCfVbA_c. — Recent protests across the globe were sparked by a series of videos that captured racism on camera, such as the shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the Central Park woman who phoned police against bird watcher Christian Cooper, and the Minneapolis police homicide of George Floyd. Speaking directly to the camera, commentator Trevor Noah explains the domino effect of these videos, and how to interpret news coverage of Black Lives Matter protests. Current educators and future historians need to draw on videos like these to make sense of this video-driven movement. – JD

Anti-racist teaching resources for K-12 education:

Teaching for Black Lives, edited by Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, Wayne Au. (Rethinking Schools Publication, 2018). https://rethinkingschools.org/books/title/teaching-for-black-lives. — The Rethinking Schools organization continually impresses me with the quality of classroom teachers’ reflections and curricular materials for engaging young people with challenging issues. I’ve assigned their materials in my courses and also handed them directly to Trinity students who are headed into teaching. See also this recent Washington Post recommendation with excerpts from the book. – JD
— To encourage educators to engage with the text, Rethinking Schools is currently offering the book at a 40% discount with code T4BL40, until June 11, 2020. — SW

Black Lives Matter at School — In 2016, educators in Seattle launched a Black Lives Matter day of action at their schools. The movement has since expanded to a week of action at various schools and districts across the country. The website includes lesson plans and other classroom resources, including ways to participate in the week of action. — SW

The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones and contributors for the New York Times received a 2020 Pulitzer Prize for its account of the legacy of slavery on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to the American continent. The Pulitzer Center created The 1619 Project Curriculum with reading guides and activities to engage K-12 learners, and also a full PDF version of the original publication. — JD

Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School, edited by Mica Pollock (The New Press, 2008) — An edited volume designed to reach educators and parents. Each chapter is short and encourages readers to consider everyday implications. — SW

Education Week’s list of Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest, June 2, 2020 — SW

Resources that may be especially important for white educators:

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo (2018), with publisher’s discussion guide for educators

Feeling White: Whiteness, Emotionality, and Education, by Cheryl Matias (2016)

For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, by Christopher Emdin (2016)

We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools, 3rd edition, by Gary Howard (2016)

Other resources to understand racism, white supremacy, and anti-blackness in the current moment:

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (2016)

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, by Angela Davis (2016)

Take Action Steps:

Investigate our institutions — Thoughtfully designing and carrying out a research project can be a good way to understand and draw attention to structural problems and potential solutions. For example, we recently shared our findings from a First-Generation/Low-Income Student Focus Group at Trinity (January 2020). Also, the Educ 309 Race Class & Ed Policy students presented their findings from interviews with first-year students about perceptions of race and social class in Hartford and Trinity (October 2019).

Change your teaching practice — What concrete curricular and/or pedagogical changes can you make to center black lives and anti-racism in your teaching? How can you push your colleagues, department, school, and/or district to do the same?

Talk to people in your life, particularly if you and they have privilege — How can you challenge family members, friends, neighbors, and loved ones to think differently about oppression, race, and racism?

Buy from people of color owned businesses — If you are making purchases, consider buying from businesses owned by people of color. For example, if you plan to buy any of the books on this list, check out these lists of black-owned bookstores.

Protest or support protestors — If you are able, consider attending protests or marches for causes you support. But remember that protests are not the only ways to support anti-racist activism. See, for example, this resource, 26 Ways To Be In The Struggle Beyond the Streets, developed by disability rights activists.

Donate — If you are able, consider making financial contributions to organizations doing anti-racist work, especially organizations that are led by people of color.

Share more resources:

Expand on our starter list by sharing more anti-racist educational resources that you value, and tell us why. We encourage you to share these on Twitter and tag both of us: @stefaniejwong and @doughertyjack.

Careers in Teaching and Youth Work: Advice from Trinity Alumni

Wednesday October 2nd, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm, in Grand Room, Career Development Center

Updated: See video part 1 and video part 2 from this event.

Join us at this special event for Trinity College alumni to share advice with current students on different pathways to working with young people, whether in classrooms, counseling, or community organizations. Hartford-area alumni will join us in person, and others will join us via video conference. Professor Jack Dougherty will moderate the discussion. Co-sponsored by the Center for Student Success and Career Development and the Educational Studies Program. See also the Pathways to Teaching advising web pages. Open to the entire Trinity community.

Questions for alumni panelists:

1) What is your current position in teaching or youth work, and what path did you take into this profession?

2) Thinking back to when you were a Trinity student, what advice do you wish someone had given you about teaching or youth work?

Confirmed panelists:

Crisanne M. Colgan, MA ’74, Ph.D. is currently Adjunct Professor in the Master’s Degree program in Education at the University of St. Joseph, following a 41 year career in public and non-public schools. Crisanne graduated with a BA in French and English from the University of Connecticut. After graduating with a master’s degree in French from Trinity College, she earned a Sixth Year Diploma in Professional Education and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut. Crisanne began her career as a high school teacher of French and English, and the World Languages department chair. After serving as assistant principal in two districts, Crisanne was appointed the Senior Director of Instruction for the Avon, CT school district. Crisanne was also Principal of Roaring Brook School in Avon for 19 years.

Nicole George ’18 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Psychology, with a minor in Legal Studies, from Trinity College. Currently she is working toward her Master of Social Work degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, where her concentration is in Clinical Practice, with a focus on providing counseling and therapy to refugee and immigrant children.

Brigit Rioual ’14 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Sociology at Trinity College. Currently she teaches first through third grade students at the Montessori Magnet School, a city-suburban interdistrict public school, located across from campus at the Learning Corridor. While at Trinity, she began to enroll in teacher preparation courses at the University of Saint Joseph, and earned her Master’s degree, with elementary education certification and a focus on reading and language arts in 2017. She also completed training through the Association Montessori International in Spring 2019.

Brigit Rioual and Montessori Magnet students on first day of school, Fall 2019. Photo: Tom Sullivan.

Stacey Lopez ’11 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies, with a minor in Community Action, from Trinity College, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of St. Joseph in 2017. Her internships and community learning experiences at Trinity College served as a strong catalyst for a career committed to facilitating diversity and equity when working with young people of color. Currently, she is the social worker at Opportunity Academy, a program of Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. in Hartford, CT where she supports over-aged and under-credited high school students in reaching their academic, personal, and career goals. In the past ten years, Stacey has had different roles that integrate her bicultural identity, youth development and education background, community building skills, and clinical training in the mental health and not for profit sectors. Prior to OPP, she worked as a licensed in-home clinician for youth and families at Wheeler Clinic and was a W.E.B. Du Bois Diversity Fellow at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health at UMass-Amherst. Stacey also served as the Project Director for summer youth programs at the Christian Activities Council, Director of Youth Development at Billings Forge Community Works, and Program Coordinator for the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement at Trinity College. She participates in the Latino Social Workers Network, which is a part of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)-CT chapter and has recently joined Trinity College’s CHER Advisory board.

Cara Midlige ’17 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies, with a minor in Community Action, from Trinity College, and her master’s degree in childhood education from the Relay Graduate School of Education. Cara recently complete her two years as a Teach for America Corps Member, and is continuing to teach 3rd grade students at PS 86 The Kingsbridge Heights School in the Bronx, NYC.

Joseph Orosco ’19 earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Urban Studies at Trinity College. He grew up in Pomona, CA, and identifies as a first-generation college student and also a Chicano/Native American. Joseph enrolled in Teach for America and is currently teaching Algebra I at Desert Pines High School in the Clark County School District, while obtaining his Masters in Education of Mathematics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeanika Browne-Springer ’12 earned her bachelors degree in Theatre & Dance: Arts in the Community, with minors in Studio Arts and Urban Studies, and also completed teacher certification coursework at the University of Saint Joseph in K-5 Elementary Education. She also worked with students in art class at the Montessori school, after school in Grace Academy’s enrichment clubs, and through Trinity’s Rising Stars mentoring program. Following graduation she completed a semester of student teaching at Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford and remained there as an intern and building substitute, while working part time as a café operator at TheaterWorks. The following year she moved on to Betances Early Reading Lab in Hartford as an Associate Teacher, leading reading intervention groups, hands-on science lessons, and completing her Masters in Multiple Intelligences through the University of Saint Joseph’s cohort program. Luckily her coursework at Trinity qualified her for certification cross endorsements in Theater Education and in Dance. Over the past five years, she has been a second grade teacher at Global Communications International Baccalaureate Academy in Hartford, coaching the drill team after school, and continuing work in Hartford’s community theater scene with HartBeat Ensemble and Night Fall. Recently she accepted a position in Development & Marketing with Hartford Performs, a non-profit partnership with Hartford Public Schools to connect classrooms with the city’s vibrant arts community and train teachers in arts integration for their daily curriculum. While she never would’ve thought she’d end up in an office job as a grant writer for an organization, her experiences in the classroom make her a strong advocate for the arts in education, and connector of dots within the arts world.

Additional contributors:

Luke Forshaw ’03 earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Trinity College, and also completed the elementary teacher certification program through the consortial program with the University of Saint Joseph. Luke has been an educator in the Darien School District in Connecticut since 2003, and currently he is the principal at Ox Ridge Elementary School. He earned his masters and doctoral degrees in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College in New York City, and also teaches graduate students for the University of Saint Joseph. Since Luke is meeting with his PTO during our event, he sent this video clip with advice on getting involved in working with young people and their families, and balancing teaching and graduate work.

Luke Forshaw and students at Maker Faire event. Photo by Darienite.com.

Jason Symmes ’09 earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Trinity College, where he also served as a teaching assistant for Educational Studies. He enrolled in Citizen Schools, a non-profit AmeriCorps program, where he worked in a South Boston middle school and earned his master’s degree. Currently he teaches mathematics and coaches students at Methuen High School in Massachusetts. Since Jason will be coaching during our event, he sent these responses to our reflection questions:

What is your current position in teaching or youth work, and what path did you take into this profession? So I realized during my junior year at Trinity that I wanted to be a teacher and a coach. I think I was against it before this time because my father had been saying it to me since I was really young, and I didn’t want to do what he said. I was unsure how to get there, being late in my junior year, and I worked with Professor Dougherty to help make my own path. Although I completed my degree in economics, I took as many education classes as I could, and became a teaching assistant for an education class and an economics class. I then decided to apply to Citizen Schools, a non-profit AmeriCorps program that allowed me to earn my masters degree in education while gaining valuable experience in a South Boston middle school. Those two years were amazing and gave me the experience and the education necessary to get a job at Methuen High School, located in a Massachusetts city on the New Hampshire border that has great diversity and resources. I am entering my 9th year here and have really grown as an educator. I was able to get a second masters degree in school administration a few years ago but I am still too involved with teaching my AP Statistics courses and coaching golf and lacrosse. I enjoy everyday and I recommend paving your own path and just plow through.

Thinking back to when you were a Trinity student, what advice do you wish you had heard from someone in the field of teaching or youth work? One of the greatest education experiences I ever had was working in a Hartford elementary school through the Educ 200: Analyzing Schools course at Trinity. It really opened me eyes to education in a city setting and that was when I decided that this is what my life work would be. My advice: make sure that you really enjoy working with students and understand that plenty of days are going to be hard, and some days you are going to want to quit, but the rewarding part of the job is seeing students succeed and the gratitude that they eventually have.

Danyelle Doldoorian ’14 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Mathematics from Trinity College. She currently teaches mathematics and coaches high school students at the Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey. Since Danyelle will be coaching during our event, she sent these responses to our reflection questions:

What is your current position in teaching or youth work, and what path did you take into this profession? My pathway to private school teaching was kind of a whirlwind. I expected to teach in public school, but when a recruiter came to the Career Development Center to meet with people interested in teaching in private day or boarding schools, I figured I might as well show up. He interviewed me and sent my information to many schools he thought I’d work well with. I received many, many inquiries from schools looking for exactly what I was looking to do: teach math, coach basketball, and coach field hockey. Nearly all of the schools were boarding schools. I had not attended one, but the more I thought about it the more appealing it was to be completely immersed in the lives of the students and the school. I loved my time as a freshman seminar leader, helping with both classwork and transition into college life, and this seemed very similar. I took an interview at Bair Academy in New Jersey. I absolutely fell in love with it and took the job. I now teach math, coach JV field hockey, am the assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach, live in a dorm on campus as a dorm parent, do dorm duty once a week, and have a few other responsibilities. I have weekend duty every so often, I teach on Saturdays, and have to drive a bus to weekend activities for the kids as well as athletic events. Living on campus with the kids is great as you get to really know them, and you also have the amazing bonus of free housing and meals. If anyone is interested in boarding school life specifically, please reach out to me!! There is so much info I can give you. It is a completely immersive experience which is absolutely draining and absolutely invigorating and rewarding at the same time. If having autonomy in the classroom and taking kids on random 10PM McDonald’s runs sounds appealing to you…let me know!

Thinking back to when you were a Trinity student, what advice do you wish you had heard from someone in the field of teaching or youth work? As a Trinity student I wish someone had told me that private school requires no teaching certification and is AWESOME! I went to public school and thought that’s where I wanted to end up, so I was always slightly anxious about how I would make that happen without earning a teaching certification during my undergrad. If that’s you…no need to panic! Private school is a fantastic option! I am absolutely in love with my job. Teaching is the best job in the world and I’m lucky I am able to do it at a place that gives me 100 times more than I could ever give it, no matter how hard I try every day to even the score.

Jill Mack is the Licensure Officer for Educators and School Counselors at the University of Saint Joseph. She will visit the Trinity campus to advise students about the USJ teacher licensure program at this event, Wednesday October 2nd, and she also will be at Peter B’s Cafe in the Trinity Library on Thursday, October 31st from 9am – 2pm (please email jmack@usj.edu to schedule an appointment).

Pathways to Teaching and Youth Work: Advice from Trinity Alumni, March 12th 2019

Tuesday March 12, 2019 in McCook 201 conference room, 6:30-7:30pm

Join us at this special event for Trinity College alumni to share advice with current students on different pathways to working with young people, whether in classrooms, counseling, or community organizations. Hartford-area alumni will join us in person, and others will join us via Skype video conference. Professor Jack Dougherty will moderate the discussion. See also the Pathways to Teaching advising web pages hosted by the Educational Studies Program. Open to the entire Trinity community.

Ed Studies alumni panelists with Professor Jack Dougherty

Confirmed panelists:

Elaina Rollins ’16 completed her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies, and a minor in Legal Studies. She currently teaches 2nd grade at Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York and received her master’s degree in childhood education from the Relay Graduate School of Education. Learn more about Achievement First Teachers in Residence program.

Emily Meehan ’16 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies. She was a 2016 Teach for America corps member and currently works as a 6th grade English/Language Arts teacher at Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School 1 in Central Falls, Rhode Island. She is also pursuing her Master’s in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. Learn more about Teach for America.

Veronica Armendariz ’16 completed her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies. She currently teaches algebra at Chicago Bulls College Prep in Chicago, IL, and is the process of receiving her teaching licensure from the State of Illinois. Learn more about the Noble charter school network and teaching in Illinois.

Begaeta Nukic Ahmić ’11 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Mathematics. After Trinity she completed the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) at the University of Connecticut, a full-time, one-year intensive master’s program that prepares college graduates to teach in a certification area. She currently teaches algebra at Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington DC.

Stacey Lopez ’10 earned her bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies, with a minor in Community Action, from Trinity College, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of St. Joseph. Currently she works as an in-home clinician for youth and families at Wheeler Clinic in Hartford CT. Previously, she was a W.E.B. Du Bois Diversity Fellow at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health at UMass-Amherst, Project Director for summer youth programs at the Christian Activities Council, Director of Youth Development at Billings Forge Community Works, and Program Coordinator for the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement at Trinity College.

Kate McEachern Bermingham ’07 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Psychology. She earned her teaching certification through Trinity’s consortial program at University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, and completed her master’s degree. She currently teaches at the Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School (ELAMS), a Hartford public school near campus.

Alumni Update: Nicole George ’18 Reflects on Educ Senior Research Seminar

Nicole George ’18 at her Ed Studies senior research presentation at Trinity College

We love hearing from Educational Studies alumni, especially when they offer to share news about their life adventures after Trinity with broader audiences, as Nicole George ’18 does below:

I am currently a full time graduate student in the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University. This is my first semester and have been required to do many written assignments within this field. I am interning at the Richmond Department of Social Services while taking four courses on campus, and am looking forward to becoming more involved with refugee and immigrant children. The Ed Studies courses I took at Trinity has been a lifesaver! I truly feel prepared. My courses involve a lot of research focusing on varying populations and Ed Studies prepared me to work with various groups of people. In particular, my Ed 400: Senior Research Seminar has been one of the most beneficial courses in preparing me for graduate school. One thing I would tell the current Ed Studies Majors is that the final research project may seem difficult and time consuming, but if you plan to go to grad school after Trinity, you will be thankful to the entire program for encouraging you to do research and gaining that independence. THANK YOU ED STUDIES FACULTY AND STAFF!

Learn more about Nicole George’s Educ 400 senior research project, “Navigating Survival Skills in a Predominantly Latin American School.” See her presentation slides and video and final draft in the Trinity College Digital Repository.