Like never before, it is crucial that children as young as kindergarten participate in discussions of race, equity and historic inequalities. It is especially important that children from marginalized backgrounds see their lives and experiences represented in their classroom curriculum.
In 2020, Roundhouse Foundation sponsored attendance to Harvard’s 2020 Culturally Responsive Literature Course for 32 Oregon educators and librarians. The virtual course provided meaningful critical literacy instruction and increased attendees’ confidence in incorporating culturally diverse literature in their curriculum.
“The [Harvard] course gave me a better understanding of what constitutes a culturally responsive text, and introduced me to diverse literature choices, which I have shared with students. It challenged me to engage my students in criticality,” reflected one Parkrose High School educator and attendee.
To supplement this work, Roundhouse Foundation has purchased books representing diverse authors and characters for high schools in Oregon, including Parkrose High School in Portland and Sisters High School in Central Oregon.
Following attendance to the Harvard course, the Roundhouse Foundation has partnered with the University of Oregon College of Education to design a new professional development course in support of Oregon K-12 general education teachers in choosing, analyzing, and teaching literature written by – and about – people representing diverse experiences and backgrounds. According to Dr. Audrey Lucero, University of Oregon Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies, this course will launch in the spring of 2021 and serves as a pilot project to be offered to K-12 schools across Oregon. It will be the first of its kind in the western US.
“During a time when conversations around racial equity and justice are happening more often, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Roundhouse Foundation to develop this training course on Culturally Responsive Literature. Our combined goal is to empower educators to engage their students in critical conversations around texts on challenging issues, in order to create meaningful change in the classroom and beyond,” reported Lucero.
Learn more about our partners engaged in this program:
University of Oregon College of Education
Sisters High School
Parkrose High School