Formulating Opinions on Civic and Political Issues by Camrin Fredrick

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS Focusing on the “analyzing issues” aspect of civic engagement, my inquiry explored whether structured academic conversation would help students formulate their positions on an issue as well as improve the clarity with which students were able to articulate their ideas in writing.  I experimented with two different models for students to […]


From Questions to Actions: Civic Engagement in a 9th Grade History Classroom by Jah-Yee Woo

When I’m asked what I teach, and I respond, “California History,” the responses from fellow teachers and parents are often excitement and curiosity.  However, the responses from 9th grade students in my California Studies classes at Oakland Technical High are much different.  They range from groans accompanied by “We’ve done that…” to nonchalance to eagerness. […]


Increasing Civic Agency by Jessica Tyson

  I teach California Studies (an English class and a history class) to ninth graders at Oakland Technical High School. My students come from every neighborhood in Oakland, creating an extremely heterogeneous classroom group, diverse in academic preparation and skills, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and levels of engagement with school and community. I have […]

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Searching for Connections by Lauren Hurlbutt

As a History teacher, I clearly see connections between the curriculum in my classroom and the contemporary issues in the news.  My students, on the other hand, often struggle to see the reasons why they need to know about the issues faced by people that came before them.  At Oakland Technical High School, I teach […]


Exposing Students To More Than One Narrative by Leona Kwon

Context As a 9th grade Ethnic Studies teacher, I spend an entire year offering students a counter perspective to what I assume is their primarily mainstream experience with learning history in grades K-8. Over the years I have witnessed students light up with interest as they learn about the struggles and achievements of people of […]

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Supporting Students To Do Meaningful Social Change Work by Sarah Glasband

How do my students deeply investigate relevant social issues in order to participate in meaningful social change work? As a 9th grade Humanities teacher in Oakland, it is critical for my students to see themselves and their passions reflected in the curriculum while simultaneously building skills in critical thinking, writing, and argumentation. As an Oakland-raised […]


Lessons from California’s Chief Justice

At the League of Women Voters’ luncheon this past week, I had the opportunity to listen to Tani Cantil-Sakauye speak eloquently about how she became California’s first Asian American Chief Justice despite a childhood where she had struggled to overcome shyness and find her voice. She attributed her decision to pursue a law career to […]

Students from Castlemont, Fremont and MetWest with the CA Chief Justice