Our Initiatives

  • The Social Studies Culturally Relevant Curriculum Taskforce is an Initiative within The Division of Curriculum and Instruction that exemplifies the commitment to the District’s core values.

    While the District has adopted high-quality instructional materials, feedback from educators and internal analysis of curriculum materials reveal that there are opportunities to address gaps that exist through supplemental texts, lessons, and educator guidance to enhance the cultural relevancy of the District’s current curriculum.

Social Studies Culturally Relevant Curriculum Taskforce

  • In June of 2020, The District’s Board of Education issued a resolution, committing itself to be an anti-racist institution.  This declaration included the commitment to develop and implement an Equity Strategic Framework that examines curriculum and instructional practice to center the needs of our students and the experiences of those that have been historically and institutionally oppressed.    

    Students thrive when they have access to challenging content and teachers who believe that they can meet high standards. When given the opportunity to do rigorous work, students consistently rise to the challenge. That is why anti-racism in our practice is inherently tied to learning and began with the adoption of high-quality instructional materials (HQIM). HQIM are fundamental to equitable instruction because they support teachers in delivering lessons aligned to college and career readiness standards and preparing students for the futures they choose.

    However, many standards-aligned curricula are not yet built to support anti-racist teaching. Too often, materials center white-dominant experiences rather than those of people of color. This does not facilitate our commitment to offering content that affirms and reflects students’ identities and experiences (mirrors) or the chance to learn about and from diverse cultures and perspectives (windows). While the District has adopted high quality instructional materials, feedback from educators and internal analysis of curriculum materials reveal that there are opportunities to address gaps that exist through supplemental texts, lessons, and educator guidance to enhance the cultural relevancy of the District’s current

    In order to ensure that the work that we do is not temporary or performative and truly realizes and operationalizes our commitments we will:

    • Center the research and scholarship done by people of color in the areas of anti-racist and culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy
    • Include the diverse identities, cultures, histories, experiences of DPSCD teachers, students and community members in our curriculum and trainings.
    • Center and amplify the "own voice" stories of excellence, scholarship, and achievement, as well as resistance, resilience and joy of those who have been historically and systemically marginalized and oppressed. Reflect the learning goals and aspirations expressed through collaboration and thought partnership with DPSCD students, teachers, district staff, and Detroit community members.
    • Ensure sustainability of and commitment to this effort by providing the required professional learning, support, and resources to district leaders, building administrators, and instructional staff.

    Although many adjustments to curriculum are already underway to reflect our anti-racist resolution, we all know that more adjustments need to be made.  The District has formed a Taskforce to assess bias in curricular materials beginning with the Office of Social Studies.  This Taskforce will study and provide input on Invisibility, Stereotyping, Imbalance and Selectivity, Historical Whitewashing, Fragmentation and Isolation, Linguistic Bias, and Cosmetic Bias in our materials and make recommendations for improvements. 

    Members of this first taskforce will begin their work.  

    To capture input from as many staff, students, families, and community members as possible, prior to the taskforce meetings, we will provide a survey and listening sessions.  That data will be used in the Task Force convenings. 

    Social Studies Culturally Relevant Curriculum Survey

    Social Studies Curriculum Audit Survey

    The survey results will be anonymous and used to inform our work as we develop recommendations for improving Social Studies curricula. Please complete the survey by Friday, July 2nd.

    Social Studies Culturally Relevant Listening Sessions

    There are two unique opportunities for everyone to have their voice heard in our Social Studies curriculum audit: a survey and listening sessions.

    Listening sessions will be opportunities to build upon the survey, to have conversations, and hear your voice directly. Data and learning from both sessions will be valuable information for the task force as they think about the recommendations and considerations they put forward to the District. Listening Session dates and times are below. Students can attend as an individual or with their teacher as a class. The links for the student sessions are registration links. Please register in advance for student sessions to make sure we don’t exceed the capacity of Teams.  Other sessions are direct meeting links. Please click the link to attend the meeting.

    Date

    Time

    Audience

    Link

    Monday, June 14, 2021

    1:00 pm

    3-5 Students

    Registration Link

    Tuesday, June 15, 2021

    10:00 am

    Teachers

    Meeting Link

    Tuesday, June 15, 2021

    1:00 pm

    K-2 Students

    Registration Link

    Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    10:00 am

    Parents/Community

    Meeting Link

    Wednesday, June 16, 2021

    10:00 am

    6-8 Students

    Registration Link

    Thursday, June 17, 2021

    12:00 pm

    9-12 Students

    Registration Link

    Thursday, June 17, 2021

    1:30 pm

    Teachers

    Meeting Link

    Friday, June 18, 2021

    10:00 am

    3-5 Students

    Registration Link

    Friday, June 18, 2021

    12:00 pm

    6-8 Students

    Registration Link

    Friday, June 18, 2021

    1:30 pm

    9-12 Students

    Registration Link

    Monday, June 21, 2021

    10:00 am

    K-2 Students

    Registration Link

    Monday, June 21, 2021

    4:00 pm

    Teachers

    Meeting Link

    Tuesday, June 22, 2021

    5:00 pm

    Parents/Community

    Meeting Link

    Monday, June 28, 2021

    10:00 am

    Admin

    Meeting Link