MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference: 10/11/19
Designing for Impact: Social Justice & Mass Incarceration
Introductory: New to topic / subject matter
Social Justice, Activism & Allyship from the Classroom to the Community
Session repeats - Round 1 & 2
A.J. Ernst, Dean of High School Academy, Girard College
Purpose-driven education motivates students and educators; it is relevant and intuitive. Thematic curricula allow for collaboration and deep learning, fostering 21st Century skills. Creative partnerships can be forged in any field. Girard College and the Eastern State Penitentiary are building on previous successes to embark on an even bolder collaboration. The sophomore class will study mass incarceration to explore themes of social justice through placed-based learning. Navigating issues of race, punishment, morality, and redemption, students will confront difficult topics that must be addressed by society. Culminating with the creation of an actual exhibition for the public, students will have the opportunity to authentically demonstrate their learning through increasing public awareness. This workshop will illustrate how such meaningful work is achievable in any context.
This collective effort is replicable at any school willing to think creatively, work collaboratively, and trust students to navigate their learning around meaningful issues. If we aim to empower students to be active citizens positioned to change the world, then there is no better form of preparation than enabling actual practice. Social Justice and Activism should be central to the work of schools, not auxiliary.
Participants will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of the need to centralize social justice in schools, an example of that can serve as a framework for future projects, and clear next-steps to create powerful curricula at any site of learning.
is the Dean of Girard College's Quest Forward Academy, a student-centered program focused on the skills, habits, and mindset required for success after graduation. Girard College is a five-day boarding school that provides full scholarships for students of financial need in Philadelphia. Years leading schools and nonprofits has led him to pursue his doctorate at PennGSE where he is researching the school-to-prison pipeline.
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