Transcription of the episode “Identity-focused classes: Experiments in cultural relevance”

Amy H-L: [00:00:15] Hi, I’m  Amy Halpern-Laff.

Jon M: [00:00:16] And I’m Jon Moscow. Welcome to Ethical Schools. Our guest today is Dr. Emily Penner, assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of California at Irvine. Welcome, Emily!

Emily P: [00:00:28] Thanks so much for having me. 

Amy H-L: [00:00:30] You and Dr. Thomas Dee from Stanford did a study of the impact of an ethnic studies curriculum in San Francisco high schools as an example of “culturally relevant pedagogy.” What was the program you studied?

Emily P: [00:00:43] The program was a ninth grade, year-long course that was created by a group of teachers, piloted in the early two thousands decade. And they created a course that students could take as a transition to high school. And that course combined some elements of “culturally relevant pedagogy” in a course that would focus on helping students to examine their own identities, learn about their own communities, engage in community-focused projects around problems identified by community members, and that also gave them an opportunity to learn about things like stereotypes and biases that might shape students’ experiences. And then it would also give them a chance to learn about histories of groups that are underrepresented in typical social studies currently.

Jon M: [00:01:32] How were students selected? 

Emily P: [00:01:35] That varied a little bit from school to school, but during a pilot phase, when the district asked the teachers to test out this curriculum in a couple of the district schools, in some of those schools, and in some years, they identified students who were struggling academically in eighth grade. And those are the students who we particularly focused on because in those particular cases, they used a district early warning indicator for students being at risk of dropping out. And so if students had a GPA of less than 2.0, they actually got signed up to take the course when they got to their ninth grade school, it was on their schedule for their academic year. So we could look at the students who were basically assigned to take the course without their own choosing. Now students could opt out if they didn’t want to take it, and students who were higher performing could opt in. But in general, that meant that those lower performing students were much more likely to take the course.

Jon M: [00:02:33] And did you have many examples of students either opting out or opting in?

Emily P: [00:02:37] You know, it wasn’t that a hundred percent of the students who had a GPA of less than 2.0 in those cohorts took the course. And there were a small number of students with higher GPS who also did take the course, but there was a gap, you know, if you looked at like the probability of enrolling in the course, there was a gap between the two groups of about, I think, 25 percentage points or something like that. 

Amy H-L: [00:03:01] What were the ethnicities of the students in the class?

Emily P: [00:03:04] It took place across a number of different high schools, but they were pretty reflective of the diverse makeup of the student population in San Francisco, which is to say that the largest ethnic and racial groups were Asian Americans from a variety of country of origin backgrounds and Latinx Americans. There were also African American students and white students, and some students who were from other race and ethnic backgrounds.

Jon M: [00:03:31] Given the demographics of the schools involved, were there generally students from a variety of racial, ethnic, or language backgrounds in the same classrooms?

Emily P: [00:03:39] Yes. 

Amy H-L: [00:03:41] As students explored their own identities and others’ perceptions of them, was there a lot of discussion among students of different backgrounds?

Emily P: [00:03:52] Yes. Part of the course was intended for self reflection, but a good portion of the course is also designed to be much more student led, student facilitated discussions and also smaller group discussions. Part of ethnic studies critical pedagogy is to try to take a lot of opportunity to allow student voice to direct the flow of discussion. And it’s definitely a part of the course.

Jon M: [00:04:19] Could you talk a little bit for listeners who may not be familiar with the term what you mean by critical pedagogy?

Emily P: [00:04:24] Sure. So the idea is to try to take an examination of relationships of power, of inequality, of racism, of other kinds of structural factors that might be influencing our understanding of particular situations and histories, and to give students tools to try to reflect on different situations. Contemporary situations and also historical situations, to try to think about the ways in which those dynamics might have been at play or are currently, still at play in shaping people’s opportunities to interact in society.

Jon M: [00:05:02] What were the effects that you found on student attendance and achievement? What were the metrics you were looking for and what were the results?

Emily P: [00:05:11] So my co-author and I worked in a partnership through the assistant superintendent for high schools. And they were very interested in a couple of indicators that had been identified in the program when they initially conceived of it and the kinds of things that might impact. They had a pretty wide ranging set of things they hoped it would impact. And at that moment we had a few ways to evaluate some of those indicators. So among them, they hoped that it would help boost students’  academic performance, students’ attendance, students’ participation in school, their social emotional learning, and eventually down the line, things like graduation and transitions to a higher education, all of those kinds of things.

And in our evaluation of this pilot phase, at the time in which we were conducting our study, which was roughly around 2014 and 2015, we could look at students at the end of ninth grade. So the end of the year, when they took the same course, and we could use administrative records from the school district to look at students’ attendance in all of the subject areas, to look at the number of credits that they had successfully earned, meaning they got something that was a D or a higher grade in the courses they were doing. And we could look at their GPAs. And we could compare students who were just below that 2.0 threshold and had taken the course to students just above the 2.0 threshold, who had not been assigned to take the course. And we could look at they’re all, each of those three indicators. And we looked at them, you know, not in ethnic studies, but in all their other subject areas. We also excluded PE because grades in PE are just a little bit more, you’re not doing an academic work necessarily. And we excluded other social studies classes students might’ve been taking. So we looked across their GPA, all subjects, and then in other core academic subjects specifically as well. And we found that the program had actually had, I’m trying to think of the right adjective, substantial effect on the students’ attendance, credits, and GPA. 

At first, when we saw the effects, we thought that they were too large to be true, to be honest. I mean, I don’t mean to downplay the potential for a course like this. People who have been working hard in this area have thought for a long time that this course can have really positive impacts on students. So I don’t mean to downplay that, but what I want to say is there are not that many interventions that have this large of an impact. So their attendance increased by something like 21 percentage points. They earned an additional about 24 credits, meaning that they successfully completed essentially two and a half additional courses without getting a D an F or a D minus. And their GPAs went up by 1.4 grade points. And that’s GPAs not in ethnic studies. That’s in math and science and other courses.

And remember, of course, these were students who weren’t doing that well in eighth grade by and large, right. They were, they were in the 2.0 grade point range. So they’re moving from around that area. It shifted down a little bit, actually for students just above 2.0, but they’re basically, they’re moving from like the D, D minus range up into a solid, you know, C plus, B minus. I know that because that’s a, that’s a huge academic transition, especially at the margin from eighth to ninth grade, where a lot of students fall off, you know, that’s a point where we lose a lot of students. This is a grade level where a lot of academic intervention is targeted and this course seemed to have a profound effect on the students who participated, at least in the short term. 

Jon M: [00:08:48] Wow. That’s really exciting. I have two questions, sort of, from that: one is I noticed you didn’t mention standardized test results. And I’m just wondering, a lot of times people say that those are the hardest things to sort of nudge. Did you look at those? And did you find any effects in terms of were their standardized tests that the kids had to take? And did you find any particular effects on those?

Emily P: [00:09:14] I’m glad you asked about that. There’s a couple of reasons why we didn’t look at standardized tests, the first being that in California, we do a fair amount of standardized testing in younger grades, particularly in grades three through eight, where kids are assessed annually in language arts and math, but starting in high school, we don’t do annual testing. We have a couple of grade levels where we do some subject specific testing, but we can’t look specifically at the end of ninth grade and assume that students are all going to be tested. And in math, we start to differentiate our curriculum a lot and students take a lot of different pathways through math. And so students may not even be taking the same course at that point. Often, in fact, they’re taking probably two or three different math classes. So that’s one reason. A lot of times when people are using standardized tests from high schools, they’re using a high school exit exam, which students typically don’t take until 10th or 11th grade. And we don’t do that, use that exam in California anymore, anyway. A second reason is that our cohorts actually overlap a period where California switched from using one standardized assessment to a different one. And so we have a year where they took a break and they did no assessment. And so we, that, that would mean that there would be a group of students in our data for whom we would have no results.

Jon M: [00:10:34] Were you able to do any studies of how long the effects lasted, whether maybe two or three years down the road, this affected the students’ overall high school experiences?

Emily P: [00:10:48] I’m also very glad you asked that. Of course, as researchers,  short term outcomes are great to identify, but what you really care about are the real world impacts of something like this. You care about whether or not it helps students be more successful in their transitions to adulthood. So, first of all, we had to wait. You have to wait for students to have the potential to have completed high school on time. And we are in the process right now of finishing up a study in conjunction, the two of us, as well as another colleague, Sade Bonilla, at UMass Amherst, where we are looking at the impact of the same pilot, so these exact same students, at the end of high school, at whether or not they graduated on time or within five years, whether or not they had similar success in terms of the credits they were accruing throughout their high school careers, and also whether or not they enrolled in some kind of postsecondary education. So we, I want to say about a month ago, spoke with our district partners to present the findings to them. I would love to tell you the answers and the results, but we, that given the nature of our agreement and our respect for our districts, um, you know, we want to make sure that we get all the proper approvals.

Jon M: [00:12:11] You’ll have to come back.

Emily P: [00:12:13] I would love to.

Jon M: [00:12:14] And when are you expecting to have those results or be able to go public with them? 

Emily P: [00:12:19] I’m not exactly sure. There’s, you know, it’s a little bit of a waiting for us to get everything finalized. And then there’s a little bit of a formal approval process, but we have some agreements to have some things turned in related to that around the end of November. So I would expect by then, if not a little bit before.

Jon M: [00:12:38] That’s great. 

Amy H-L: [00:12:40] You’ve mentioned that this was an example of teachers having a lot of latitude, of their being able to use their professional judgment. Could you elaborate?

Emily P: [00:12:51] Sure. So this, unlike a lot of the courses that teachers were being asked to teach, especially in the late two thousands, early 2010s, you know, right. That was kind of at the end of No Child Left Behind and the transition for the Every Student Succeeds Act. And that was a very a time when a lot of content, very centralized. In this case, when the program was created, the district actually, I mean, it was, it was, it was put forth due to the advocacy of a group of teachers who wanted to create such a course and some students. But what the districts enabled them to do, was it actually entrusted with them the development of this course. They basically charged them with the responsibility of creating a course using their own professional judgment. And it funded some of their exchange with a professor from San Francisco State University, who was from the department of ethnic studies. And so had some very specific background and training in the content and pedagogy that they were going to need. And it gave them a couple of years to work in professional learning communities together to kind of create the course and roll it out a little bit over time. And it gave those teachers a lot of time and space, compared to the time and space teachers are often provided at least, to develop this course over time and to refine it before they started it in this pilot phase.

And then, you know, we evaluated a pilot phase of this course, from the 2010-11 to the 2013-14 school year. So they, from about 2007 to 2010, that’s when they were busy developing the course. So that’s a number of years. Then they did a pilot phase. And then, you know, we presented our results to the districts around the end of that 2014 margin. And that’s when they made a decision about what to do with the course more generally. And whether or not to expand it, to make it a graduation requirement, et cetera. So I actually feel like this is a really pretty good case scenario of a district trusting its teachers to create something and then to consider it with a lot of different kinds of evidence before making decisions about what to do with it next.

Jon M: [00:15:11] As the district decided to expand it beyond the pilot, so it was beyond that initial group of teachers, what kind of professional development did they institutionalize for the other teachers who were becoming involved?

Emily P: [00:15:24] That’s a great question. So the districts at that margin, around 2014, 2015, they took the various versions of the course that had been in use from different teachers and they tried to create a general standard template that had similar units that they made available to all the teachers in the district who were going to be teaching the class. They also created a summer training Institute for ethnic studies so that anyone who was going to be teaching it, especially for the first time, but I think even returning folks could participate, could come together during the summer for multiple days and work through a lot of the training and onboarding so that new people could get up to speed. They have also designated a teacher on special assignment, basically somebody who was part of those original, that original cohort of teachers to try to support the other teachers teaching the class, who was not doing any standard classroom teaching at the same time. And that person helps support new teachers and also facilitates ongoing professional learning communities. 

Amy H-L: [00:16:28] Were you able to differentiate whether the effects were the result of the teachers involved being just great teachers or the curriculum itself?

Emily P: [00:16:37] Of course, because it’s a pilot, it’s a pretty small number of teachers, but we were able, at least in sort of a provisional way, to try to think about whether or not those teachers might be having large impacts on some of their other students in other courses, because of course these teachers in a pilot phase are not just teaching six. sections of ethnic studies all day long. Some of them were also teaching US history, world history and some other social studies kinds of classes. So we could compare the impacts those teachers were having on the students, in those other courses and on the same set of indicators, the attendance, credits earned, and GPA.

In the non social studies classes, relative to other teachers in those same cohorts who were teaching those classes to other students, you could look at the relative ranking of the teachers’ impacts on those students, in those areas, compared with these non ethnic studies teachers. And we didn’t find that the ethnic studies teachers, students in those other subjects were among the highest on those indicators. In fact, they were kind of in the middle. So we take that as evidence of the fact that they might, they  certainly have some really incredible attributes to be able to pull off this kind of a course, but we think that means that there’s something special about the contributions these people are making in the context of the ethnic studies class specifically.

Jon M: [00:18:01] In one of the abstracts of an article that you and Dr. Dee wrote, you wrote that your study suggests that “culturally relevant teaching, when implemented in a supportive high fidelity context, can provide effective support to at risk students.” You’ve talked some about culturally relevant teaching, but for listeners who may not be familiar with all the terms, what, for example, when you’re talking about high fidelity context, what does that mean?

Emily P: [00:18:29] So we understand this pilot phase to be a phase where there was a group of teachers who were really invested in the development of this course and in seeing it out. And so we suspect that many of these people were working especially diligently to adhere to the kind of plans that they set out and who were also investing their time in consulting with one another to really make sure that the, the content they were delivering was as good as it could be. So in this case, it wasn’t like there was a prescribed thing they were supposed to be doing, but we do suspect that they had a lot of knowledge and a lot of practice investing in the content in the course and the pedagogical techniques in the course, where others who may not have been part of that initial cohort might not have that same level of expertise, may not have that same level of experience, may not have that same level of commitment. So that when you say high fidelity, you mean that you are assuming a certain level of commitment and an energy being put into the program. So we don’t have a specific measure of it, but that’s an assumption that we’re making.

Amy H-L: [00:19:49] You and Dr. Dee also studied the African American Male Achievement program in Oakland. What was this program and why was it started?

Emily P: [00:19:58] And so that program is a little, it has some commonalities with the ethnic studies program in San Francisco, but it’s a distinct program and it has a slightly different inspiration and a slightly different, and a very different model in some ways. Oakland, you know, similar period, but maybe slightly earlier, maybe about mid two thousands, was taking stock of the kinds of impacts it was having and the ways it was and was not supporting students. And it has long identified that in particular, it struggles to meet the academic and social needs of its African American male students. And they decided, the superintendent at the time, Tony Smith, was trying to search for a model that might help to meet the needs of these students in particular in a new and innovative way. And they borrowed particularly heavily from John Powell, he’s a professor at UC Berkeley, his notion of targeted universalism, which is basically to set goals that you hope everybody in your school district, in this case, can meet. And then you try to focus on the needs of the people who are farthest away from meeting those goals. And in Oakland Unified, that was African American male students. And so they hired an individual to coordinate a new academic unit, the Office of African American Males. And that office was tasked with coming up with a program to support the unique needs of African American male students in the district, particularly focusing on students in secondary schools, although eventually they turned their programming also to support students in younger grades.

And what they created out of that office was a grouping of courses and a broader sort of social structure that they call the the Manhood Development program. And the Manhood Development program, the idea behind it was, to help African American male students identify their unique strengths and values. And to do that in a context where all of their peers in the course were all other African American males and their instructor was also an African American man. And then also similar to the ethnic studies program, used some culturally relevant pedagogy focus on issues around identity, community, biases and stereotypes that might be impacting them, and also untold histories, this time exclusively about the African American community. 

And Oakland has a lot of rich history for the African American community to dig into that’s very worthwhile for students to learn from and learn about and to have some similar elements in terms of community engagement as well in that course or in those courses. So they created a series of courses. Some of them are social studies. Some of them are language arts, and it also created a broader community across schools of African American males, where they celebrated excellence in their students, where they took specific field trips to either cultural sites or to locations to meet with policymakers. And they also gave them opportunities to meet with different regional cultural figure heads, musicians, artists, et cetera, and just opportunities to deepen their understandings of their own community and also to provide academic supports and or to help students make successful transitions from middle school to high school and high school towards the labor force or post secondary enrollment.

Amy H-L: [00:23:48] Why isn’t it just as important for the other students to learn about Oakland’s very rich history and, in fact, more so perhaps?

Emily P: [00:24:01] That’s a great question. I would agree with your characterization, that it’s just as important for all students in Oakland to know about Oakland’s very rich history. I think that it’s, that philosophical idea is, first of all, to provide an environment for African American boys to explore their own identity amongst a group of peers who share that identity. Also to cover that history. But yeah, also the idea about targeted universalism is to pilot a thing like this course with one group, the group whose needs are not being met very well, and figure out how to make it a good program and then to kind of replicate it for other folks.

And Oakland Unified has essentially done that. They’ve created a similar kind of course, for African American female students, for Latinex students, for Asian American students. And in some of those courses, they are also covering things about the rich history of Oakland, of California. So it’s not to say that they’re withholding that content from other folks also.

Amy H-L: [00:25:04] I was particularly thinking of white students and of the idea of decentering whiteness. 

Emily P: [00:25:10] Absolutely. I don’t know that they have a specific course for white students, but I do know that that is a kind of a focus of some of their content integration in other areas. 

Amy H-L: [00:25:27] What are the specific outcomes of targeted universalism that the district was looking for?

Emily P: [00:25:33] Well, again, like in San Francisco, I think that they have really ambitious goals, you know, they would like to see all kinds of indicators change, right. They want to see, not just some of the academic kind of indicators, the attendance, the grades, the retention. They also want to see social emotional transformation, a personal motivation transformation, you know, that they hope that it is a really dramatic turn around, or maybe not. Turnaround, is probably the wrong word, actually, because I think, you know, they, they want to see it elevate students across the board, whether or not they’re struggling, you know, they, they actually intentionally tried to pick students from kind of, some students who are struggling academically, some students who were performing kind of around the average, and some students who were already performing fairly well so that they would create a cohort of support for one another academically, but also so that this course was not just seen as some, you know, a place for students who were on their way out the door.

Jon M: [00:26:36] So, what were some of the specific effects that you found, particularly around say something like dropout rates? What were the results? 

Emily P: [00:26:45] So in this case, we didn’t have exactly the same kind of administrative data that we had in San Francisco. So in this case, we focus specifically on dropouts, or if you want to think about it in a more positive light of like, persistence rates.

So it increased the one year persistence rates by 3.6 percentage points, essentially helping about three or four additional students in each school grade year, cell or cohort, make it from one grade to the next.

Jon M: [00:27:21] Let me see if I’m understanding that. So the students, what grades were the students in or are they…?

Emily P: [00:27:29] In this case?  In San Francisco, it was a ninth grade targeted course. In this case,  there were students enrolled in these manhood development classes from the African American Male Achievement office in grades 9 through 12. Many of them, more of those courses are taken by students in the lower grades. And we do see effects that are larger in ninth grade in particular, but there are some students in 10th and 11th grade who are taking these courses.

Jon M: [00:27:58] Right. So I was just trying to understand the meaning of the term of one year of persistence. What does that mean?

Emily P: [00:28:05] So that means that anybody who was in that, who happened to be in that year and took the course. So that could be a mix of 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders in 2011, who happened to be at a school that offered this course. That means that they successfully progressed from whatever grade level they were in to the next one. And they didn’t leave the school and they didn’t leave the district. Okay.

Jon M: [00:28:31] So it wasn’t so much, when people think about drop out, I think of leaving the school completely, but you’re also talking about not being held back or retained or something along those lines, for example, for a ninth grader. Is that, is that right?

Emily P: [00:28:45] I  guess I should be more clear. We’re not seeing them drop out.  We did also look at the not being retained, but I should be more clear. The specific results I’m talking about is not dropping out.

Jon M: [00:28:57] Got it. And there was a spillover effect to young black women as women as well?

Emily P: [00:29:03] That’s right. It was a smaller effect. It was just a 1.8 percentage point increase in terms of, of school persistence, but it was present for black females as well. And again, kind of concentrated in the earlier grades.

Amy H-L: [00:29:21] And you’ve mentioned that there was an emphasis on avoiding deficit orientation. What steps were taken to avoid this?

Emily P: [00:29:29] That’s a very important perspective to highlight about this curriculum. I think that kind of central to the whole framing and the whole setup of the Office of African American Male Achievement, the creation of the Manhood Development program and each individual course, and even the purpose of the interactions is to highlight that African American male students, that there’s nothing about them that is wrong or in need of fixing, but that there’s a lot about them that’s really incredible, that needs an environment that helps support their development that helps them to thrive, and that a lot of the school settings that they might be in otherwise are discouraging of that ability to thrive and to grow. And that it’s like a mismatch between kind of what their capabilities are, the great things that they bring to an academic setting are, and what the context is enabling them to do.

Jon M: [00:30:34] This program preceded and influenced President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program. What was the relationship between them?

Emily P: [00:30:42] My understanding from some written documentation from the creator of the program and some other academics who have done a qualitative evaluation of the program is that this program was being created and they were developing the plans and that they even had a year or two of the program being implemented when the Obama administration heard about it. Folks who were a part of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative heard about it while it was kind of being designed, and they reached out to program leaders. And they sort of built an exchange so that they could hear more about what Oakland’s program and the folks in it were doing. They eventually did get kind of incorporated into the My Brother’s Keeper network and they got some funding and publicity and things like that from that network and some support. But my understanding is that the hope, on the part of the My Brother’s Keeper leadership, was that they could really incorporate some of the strategies that Oakland Unified was already putting into place.

Jon M: [00:31:42] Can you talk a little bit about what’s happening in field of ethnic studies in general in California?

Emily P: [00:31:47] Sure. There have been a number of developments over the past few years, and I’m going to speak specifically about what’s happening in K-12 spaces, because there’s been some development also in higher education recently. There most notably they just signed legislation to require Cal State students to take an ethnic studies course before graduating.

But in terms of K-12 development, there’s been, a couple of years ago, some legislation was approved and signed by the governor to create a model ethnic studies curriculum that districts can choose to adopt, to support their ethnic studies creation if they want to. They are also able, if they prefer, to create ethnic studies curricula in house, if they like, but this is just so that they have some kinds of supports to draw inspiration from. And the point of it, from my understanding, at least, is to provide some kind of key concepts and some potential examples, and then to allow different districts to modify components to fit their own situations, to potentially match, better match, or align with the student populations that are present in their districts, et cetera. So that’s been kind of happening over the last few years and there’s been certainly debates about what should and should not be included in that curriculum. 

But this year, there’s also some legislation that’s sitting on the governor’s desk right now. It’s been approved and is awaiting his potential signature this year. It’s Assembly Bill 331. There’s been some previous iterations as well. And the idea in this legislation would be to not just have an, uh, ethnic studies class, that’s going to be offered or available to students, but to now require students to take such a course as part of their set of graduation requirements.

And this legislation I believe would require that kind of a graduation requirement by the year 2030. Some previous versions I think had earlier deadlines.

Amy H-L: [00:33:43] I believe the model legislation is still in draft form. Is that true? 

Emily P: [00:33:49] That’s true. Yes. I believe there’s been some changes in terms of the deadline by when they need to finish that, in part because there was a lot of disagreement and an earlier draft version.

Amy H-L: [00:34:00] Yeah, this has the potential to be very contentious. 

Emily P: [00:34:04] And I do think it’s been contentious. I mean, know, it’s a very, there’s a lot of folks who, I think, from diverse constituencies who have investment in seeing this curriculum either include individuals from their own background or include particular concepts or potentially exclude particular concepts. And, you know, there’s a lot of folks who’ve been advocating for such a curriculum for a long time, so they also have very specific ideas about some of the core components that need to be there.

Amy H-L: [00:34:34] Looking at this proposed course requirement in California and the various stakeholders, doesn’t this have the potential to sort of devolve into tribalism 101?

Emily P: [00:34:51] It could. I think that that’s a possibility. I think, you know, that’s always a discussion. That’s a possibility. And I think that happens a lot of times when you think about social studies content more generally, you know, there’s always places where folks feel like there’s a particular group or a particular history that’s a narrative that either needs to be elevated or is underrepresented. And I think that that’s always going to be a debate.

Amy H-L: [00:35:19] Emily, is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t discussed?

Emily P: [00:35:24] That’s a great question. So I think I alluded to this just a second ago. We evaluated some very specific outcomes.

Some of the ones that we care, a lot of them that indicate successful progress forward in school and that, you know, offer some specific. Indications of the success of the program, but there’s also some really excellent qualitative work on this project in Oakland, in particular, the whole African American Male Achievement program, that I think are really worthwhile to review for listeners to know about. And I think you, I’m supposed to send you some links about those so that you can make it easier for people to find them, but I’m just going to pull out the list so that I get the authors, all of them listed appropriately, and their titles also listed accurately.

A great book that, it was edited by  Na’ilah Suad Nasir and  and Jarvis Givens and the director of the African  American Male Achievement program, Christopher Chatmon. That book is called, “We Dare Say Love,” and it’s got some great chapters that get you into some of the nitty gritty about the ways in which they were thinking about the creation of this program. And there’s even some details about recruitment and professional development, all kinds of good stuff.

And then Vajra Watson wrote a book called “Transformative Schooling” that’s also about this program, and she also is the author of some earlier reports about the program as it was unfolding in the district. So I recommend both of those two books and, you know, I think it’s really important to have a mix of evidence when you think about the effects of a program like this and that having in depth, qualitative data and firsthand accounts with people who are participating is invaluable. And I think that that paired with rigorous evaluations of the impacts of the program is sort of the ideal in terms of thinking about the ways in which a program like this can impact .. .

Amy H-L: [00:37:15] Thank you so much, Dr. Emily Penner of UC Irvine.

Emily P: [00:37:22] Thank you, guys, very much for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about both of these programs and our work [inaudible.

Jon M: [00:37:29] Thank you listeners. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend or colleague. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and give us a rating or review. This helps other people to find the show. Check out our website,, for more episodes, and articles and subscribe to our monthly emails. We post annotated transcripts of our interviews to make them easy to use in workshops and classes. We work with consultants to offer customized social emotional learning programs, with a focus on ethics, for schools and youth programs in the New York City area. Contact us at We’re on  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ethicalschools. Our editor and social media manager is Amanda Denti. Till next week. 

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