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From Slavery to Freedom: The African American Story

January 22 - March 8, 2024


Grades 11 - 12



Skills Learned:

- Identify and Explain a Source’s Claim(s),
-Evidence, and Reasoning.

-Describe a Source’s Perspective, Purpose, Context, and Audience

-Identify and Explain the Context of a Specific Event, Development, or Process.
Identify and Explain Patterns, Connections, or other Relationships (Causation, Changes, Continuities, Comparison).

- Identify and Explain Patterns…


Classtimes will be coordinated between the Lead Teacher and Teacher Fellow

Session Length:

January 22 - March 8, 2024

Number of Sessions:

1 of 2

This course will be part of an ongoing research study by AIR, in collaboration with CWW, the CERES Institute for Children & Youth at Boston University, and the Rennie Center. The study aims to understand teacher and student experiences in the CWW initiative, including factors influencing effective implementation, and outcomes.


Course Program:

This Ethnic Studies course is designed to give high school students an introduction to the experiences of ethnic communities that are rarely represented in textbooks. It is also a compelling way to examine race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture in the United States. The course equips students with a critical lens to see the world and their place in it by understanding systems and power at the root of American society and has as a goal to motivate students to actively engage in our democracy.

In this course, students are provided with a brief introduction to the African American experience. Students first take the journey to Ancient Africa and are introduced to history of the continent prior to enslavement. They then embark on the ships of the Middle Passage and life in the Americas for people of African descent. Other topics discussed include Juneteenth and the Black Power Movement. The course ends with a debate over the continued use of the n-word in modern Black culture.

Nakia Navarro.webp


Vanessa St. Leger

As a child of immigrant parents and native of the city of Boston, Ms. St. Leger has a distinct interest in serving her community and regularly seeks opportunities to assist or educate the underrepresented. She is a 2017 Teach for America MA Corps member and this is her 7th year teaching in her hometown of Dorchester, MA at the Henderson Inclusion School as a Special Education & History Teacher. She credits her two school age children for her growing passion for education equity. Ms. St. Leger is also an experienced attorney who part-time manages a boutique law firm focusing in the areas of family, immigration, and public interest law. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. St. Leger worked for a civil litigation firm. In this position, she took the opportunity to apply what she learned through her diverse educational and professional opportunities to assist a wide-range of clientele. Ms. St . Leger managed her own caseload and represented clients at all levels of administrative and court proceedings. As a result of this role, she also has developed invaluable communication skills, the competence to understand and deal with cultural differences, and a keen ability to assess individual client needs. Prior to law school, Ms. St. Leger obtained a paralegal certification and worked as a journalist for several media outlets in Washington DC. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education from Boston University, a juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law in MA and obtained her Bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington DC. She is an avid volunteer and a member of many community organizations and boards.

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