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Two Newburgh Educators Teach Course with National Geographic Society and Hudson Valley Writing Project
Newburgh Free Academy P-TECH educators Christine McCartney and Jacqueline Hesse are the recipients of a grant from the National Geographic Society to run two courses for teachers, Anti-Racist Teaching Through History, through the Hudson Valley Writing Project, one in the summer and one in the fall of 2021.
These timely courses will ground conversations about institutional racism in a close examination of historical facts about topics such as redlining, urban renewal, and the criminal justice system. McCartney and Hesse, who are both National Geographic Certified educators (more here), are excited to offer the courses to teachers throughout the region and the non-profit will be offering scholarships to their colleagues in the Newburgh School district through the grant.
McCartney acknowledged that, “although secondary classrooms frequently provide the setting for powerful exchanges regarding human rights, teachers sometimes feel unprepared to navigate emotionally charged issues around race.”
The teachers will be collaborating with the Orange County Human Rights Commission to ground the coursework in the larger local dialogues that are currently taking place.
Hesse remarked that, “explicitly anti-racist teaching can be daunting in any learning environment... the political climate of a school district, students’ personal beliefs and experiences, and creating safe classroom spaces all come into play. These challenges are exacerbated by hybrid/virtual learning, when it can be more difficult to build trusting relationships with students.”
These courses will provide teachers with concrete, constructivist strategies and resources to alleviate these hurdles. Novice to experienced educators will leave the class with a deeper understanding of institutionalized racism, ready-to-use strategies for incorporating anti-racist teaching into their pedagogy, and feeling empowered to discuss issues of racism with their students.
This project was funded by the National Geographic Society.
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