The Historic Journey strives to increase cultural competency

The Historic Journey presents Science, English, Math and Social Studies lessons with a context of African and African American history.

Indianapolis

The Historic Journey presents Science, English, Math and Social Studies lessons with a context of African and African American history.

“This is a part of a three year plan that the Indianapolis Public School system is looking at cultural competency and culturally relevant lessons that engage the students in the classroom,” said the curriculum’s creator, Garry Holland.

The goal is to provide students with a broader view of American history and their place in the world.

“This has allowed them to see that they have a lot of stuff in common with other kinds of people that maybe look different or may not hang out in the same crowd that they usually hang out with,” said IPS teacher Dawn Wilkey.

It is also about closing the performance gap between African American students and others at IPS by showing them anything is possible.

“If you think about a student who has aspirations of being a doctor or being a lawyer, part of that is having a sense of self,” said Wayne Hilson, the director of Multicultural Academic Relations at IUPUI. “Part of that is having someone to model.”

For Holland, the curriculum is about giving students a model that they can connect with.

“I think that that is a significant point when you look at the future of education, that the lessons are not only culturally relevant, but that it speaks to all children,” he said.

Hilson agrees, adding, “All that lends into self-esteem. All that lends into self-efficacy, which allows the students to broaden their perspectives on what's possible. And once they believe that, the sky’s the limit.”

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