The Baltimore Story: Teaching Racial Justice

Teacher Development Grant

 2021-2022 Project Summary

Rashawna Sydor

Green Street Academy • Gwynn Oak, MD

“The Baltimore Story: Teaching Racial Justice” project addresses Baltimore City student demands for a racially reflective history curriculum and teacher requests for training in anti-racist pedagogy. It offers race-conscious history lessons accompanied by simulation videos demonstrating anti-racist pedagogy. As COVID-19 has increased the need for online teaching materials, these web-based lessons and videos will meet that need and the need for race-conscious content and pedagogy.

In response to demands by Baltimore City students (students.for.blm ) to create curriculum that no longer “institutionalize[s] racism and white supremacist ideology,” select Baltimore City schools piloted BMore Me in 2020. BMore Me incorporates Black history and culture into high school social studies curriculum. Early results showed increased student engagement. However, results also revealed that teachers struggled to teach race in historical context and in a pedagogically anti-racist way. This project will be created by and for middle school teachers in Baltimore City to empower them with content and skills to teach Black history using anti-racist pedagogy. Because these resources will be housed on an existing website (https://govansheritage.org), this project will be a model that can be used beyond Baltimore City.

The Baltimore Story project will develop a comprehensive race-conscious U.S. history curriculum over three-years. The funding provided through this grant will provide a stipend to a Baltimore City master teacher and a cohort of middle school teachers. Each year the master teacher, along with an educational consultant from Loyola University Maryland, will facilitate the development of a series of middle school lesson plans on local Black history and mentor a group of middle school teachers from Baltimore City schools as they teach these lessons. With the help of a videography service-learning class at Loyola, each cohort will work with the master teacher to create short teaching simulation videos demonstrating anti-racist best practices that will be included with the lesson plans. Everything will be posted on the Govans Heritage website so that all Baltimore City teachers will have access to them.

Funding will also support partnering with Wide Angle Youth Media (a Baltimore nonprofit that engages youth to create multimedia presentations) to create multimedia resources that enrich the lesson plans. This format will be repeated for all three years and will result in the creation of a comprehensive race-conscious U.S. history curriculum while also mentoring middle school teachers from across Baltimore City.

In summer 2024, through funding sought from another grant, the project will culminate with a series of professional development workshops led by the master teacher with assistance from the cohort teachers. The workshops will introduce the curriculum and pedagogy to representative middle school teachers from across Baltimore City. All teachers who participate in the program will be required to share these lessons with those in their schools. By utilizing a “train-the-trainer” approach, this four-year plan will seed Baltimore City middle schools with teachers who can lead others to adopt these lesson plans and the anti-racist pedagogy practiced in the workshops and demonstrated in the online videos.

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