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Creating systemic change within existing structures

Danielle R. Bostick

John Handley High School, Winchester VA

“Latin is for everyone” is a core value of the American Classical League. In reality, the majority of Latin programs are not for everyone. When I started teaching in my current school, a public high school where 60% of students are of low socioeconomic status and over half are students of color, I inherited a program that was almost all-white and all-affluent. Within a semester, my first-year students reflected the demographics of our diverse school in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and academic preparation. To start my fourth year this fall, my Latin III students will be disproportionally non-white. It takes more than marketing and messaging to create and sustain a proportional program. Everything about our practice-- from course materials to assessments-- needs to reflect that Latin is for everyone so that we create an equitable learning communities instead of simply classrooms that include more people of color.

I will provide concrete examples of how I initially diversified my classroom by countering misconceptions about classics and engaging with key stakeholders in my community. I will also describe how I have reframed instruction about ancient Roman culture in a way that amplifies student voices and prioritizes the development of critical thinking skills so students can engage more effectively with the ancient world and their own communities. Finally, I will provide suggestions for leveraging resources outside of the field to improve our programs.

Attendees will leave with practical strategies for eliminating barriers and for implementing practices that promote equal access, opportunities, and engagement from all students.

 

Session/Panel Title

If Classics is for Everybody Why Isn't Everybody in My Class?

Session/Paper Number

72.3

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