Just before school began, teachers at Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School received training in culturally responsive teaching.
Each teacher and member of the staff at 11 schools in Memphis will be trained in the Facing History and Ourselves criteria. The 10 hour is what the nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves calls cultural response, an acknowledgement and understanding of how race affects education.
In addition to emphasis on race, English and History teachers will receive detailed training in the Holoocaust, the Reconstruction Era and the use of the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a means of speaking about race, gender, and authority.
According to Bobby White, executive director of MLK Prep and founder and CEO of Frayser Community Schools, allowing every student to experience Facing History will further the vision of the charter school, distancing it from the failures of its recent predecessor.
“The school for a number of years has been ostracized for the negativity that was prevalent there,” he said. “The pregnant girls that made CNN, gang violence, just a number of things. I felt like Facing History was the language we were missing.
“If the students can internalize those struggles and start to tie those struggles to why they are where they are as people and tie it to the issues that are currently happening in America, it makes them so much better to navigate what is going on.”