LOCAL GOV: DJUSD progresses ethnic studies program, welcomes student involvement

By Lauren Lee,

BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

The school district’s ethnic studies program, proposed to be implemented by fall of 2022, seeks student input to help cultivate the curriculum. 

The goal of ethnic studies is to include diversity into the curriculum by sharing perspectives of all students. The Davis Joint Unified School District hopes implementing ethnic studies will “confront disproportionate levels of engagement and achievement of many students, particularly of students of color.” 

The ethnic studies curriculum has been in development since 2019. The program was put on hold in March to develop distant learning guidelines. 

The next step for the district is building a program recommendation. Since there isn’t an established notion of what the ethnic studies program will look like, DJUSD is working with students and teachers to foster its task force.

“[Our] strategy is encapsulated by the phrase ‘student-centered, teacher-guided, community-supported’ so we’ve been spending a lot of time working closely with students,” said Rody Boonchouy, DJUSD Associate Superintendent of Instruction. 

Now, students are working directly with the district to share their experiences and their vision for the ethnic studies program. The district is also working with teachers to explore what it means to have a ‘teacher-guided’ program. 

Boonchuoy emphasizes there is an open invitation for any student who wants to participate and can get involved now. 

“We are trying to keep this as inclusive as possible because we have to have all the voices at the table,” Boonchouy said.

For Davis High students, Boonchuoy recommends communicating with vice principal Nina Nero to join the conversation. 

The ethnic studies task force includes over 100 students, teachers and community members so far. However this number doesn’t include the additional students and staff involved in the program. DHS clubs like Black Student Union and GENup are collaborating with DJUSD for the ethnic studies curriculum. 

In December, the district will bring the full task force back together and share with them what students and teachers are thinking and feeling. The task force is currently accepting involvement.  

“Our program will be better if it is centered around students because often you get a lot of adults and staff who have an idea of what you should experience,” Boonchouy said. “We truly want this to be student-centered and we want this to be a partnership. ” 

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