Meet the teaching cohort modeling culturally-responsive AAPI education in Connecticut
Asian American and Pacific Islander history will be required in Connecticut public schools by the 2025-26 school year, according to a new, soon-to-be-signed mandate. The measure was backed by Make Us Visible CT, a grassroots advocacy group working to "build capacity in the Connecticut school system to develop a robust and inclusive Asian American and Pacific Islander curriculum."
This hour, we'll hear from one of ten classes participating a community of practice, modeling how this content can be meaningfully taught. UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute Activist-in-Residence JHD (Jennifer Heikkila Díaz) is working with Bassick High School in Bridgeport, among other schools in the Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford areas, to collaborate on culturally-responsive curriculum around Thi Bui's moving graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do.
We'll hear from JHD, along with English teacher Ricardo Alvelo and two of his students. Plus, we hear from Kaitlin Tan Fung, a multimedia artist and art educator who developed art projects and prompts to help students respond to the memoir.
Thi Bui, an educator herself, learned the graphic novel format in the hopes her book could help to solve the "storytelling problem of how to present history in a way that is human and relatable and not oversimplified.” How can educators participate in that process?
- JHD (Jennifer Heikkila Díaz): Chief of Talent and Operations, New Haven Promise; Activist-in-Residence, UConn Asian and Asian American Studies Institute; Cofounder, aapiNHV; Steering Committee Member, Anti-Racist Teaching & Learning Collective
- Ricardo Alvelo: English Teacher, Bassick High School in Bridgeport
- Destinie Melendez: Student, Bassick High School
- Janette Espinoza: Student, Bassick High School
- Kaitlin Tan Fung: Multimedia Artist; Art Educator, Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School in New Haven