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Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies and Teaching for Black Lives [WAITLIST ONLY]

A FREE Workshop Series for K-12 Educators

Note: This series is now full and the waitlist is closed. The keynote event is free and open to all. We hope to see you there!

3 Workshops + Keynote Lecture | FREE copy of Teaching for Black Lives | Optional PDPs or Graduate Credit | December, 2019 - March, 2020 

Our students are increasingly racially, culturally, economically, and linguistically diverse. Because education is a civil right, how do we create academically rich and socially just educational contexts and opportunities for all of our students? This workshop series will provide space for practitioners to learn strategies for enacting culturally sustaining pedagogy, described by education scholar Django Paris as a way for educators to support racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity in the classroom, which is a form of social justice education. In particular, this workshop will focus on looking to history to deepen our collective understanding of present day issues.

Using sociohistorical and interdisciplinary perspectives to reinvigorate educator frameworks and pedagogies, this free professional development series will explore concepts and practical examples for working with racially and linguistically diverse students in classrooms, schools and other educational spaces. The goal of this series is to bring educators together to learn and build networks for transformation in our schools and communities.

The series is facilitated by Keisha L. Green (Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, UMass) and features guest lectures by Brittany Frederick (Department of History, UMass), Traci Parker (W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass), and Erika Slocumb (W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies, UMass) and a keynote address by the co-editors of Teaching for Black Lives, Dyan Watson (Lewis and Clark) and Wayne Au (University of Washington).

This series is sponsored by the UMass Amherst Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, the UMass Department of History's 2019-2020 History Institute, and the UMass/Five College Graduate Program in History.

Participants Will:

1) Participate in three 3-hour workshops with teacher educator Keisha L. Green. Participation is limited to 30, and sessions will include: guest lectures by scholars of African American history; small and larger group discussions; and connecting with other practitioners about standards-based, student-centered approaches to teaching for social justice and education equity. Participants will be expected to read short texts and engage in online discussion prior to and between sessions. 

Workshop Dates:

  • Saturday, December 14 |  9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Furcolo Hall 101, UMass Amherst
  • Saturday, February 8 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Furcolo Hall 101, UMass Amherst
  • Saturday, March 7 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Furcolo Hall 101, UMass Amherst

2) Attend a Keynote Event with Dyan Watson and Wayne Au, co-editors of Teaching for Black LivesThis event is free and open to the public. Additional details, including a full list of co-sponsors, forthcoming soon. 

  • Thursday, February, 27th | 4:30 pm – 6:30pm, Furcolo Hall, UMass

3) Design a mini-unit for Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. Participants will learn about Black Lives Matter at School and work to design a unit to be implemented during the 2021 Black Lives Matter at School week. Alternatively, participants can retool, revise, or build on an existing plan. Each workshop will provide content knowledge and pedagogical strategies for engaging students in social justice education. There will be time during each session to workshop lesson plans with peer and facilitator feedback. 

More Information

Eligibility: This series is designed for school and community educators across content areas, including social studies, humanities, and beyond. Open to all educators and aspiring educators in New England, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, school staff and administration, community-based educators, graduate students, and social justice activists.

Costs, PDPs and Graduate Credit: Participation is FREE and participants will receive a free copy of Teaching for Black Lives. 11 PDPs in History or English Language Arts OR 1 graduate credit in history from the UMass Amherst History Department are available to teachers who complete all components. Receiving PDPs or grad credit is optional. There is a $147 fee to receive graduate credit.*

REGISTRATION: This series is now full. 


About the Book: Teaching for Black Lives grows directly out of the movement for Black lives. We recognize that anti-Black racism constructs Black people, and Blackness generally, as not counting as human life. Throughout this book, we provide resources and demonstrate how teachers connect curriculum to young people's lives and root their concerns and daily experiences in what is taught and how classrooms are set up. We also highlight the hope and beauty of student activism and collective action. — Rethinking Schools, Publisher

"We need to transform our schools into sites of resistance to a system that devalues Black lives, and we need to rededicate ourselves to building an education system and a society that values and celebrates them." — Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au, Editors of Teaching for Black Lives

“These lessons not only benefit black students but can also be transformative for non-black students, particularly white students. Due in large part to school and residential segregation, white students often get a narrow view of blackness from their lived experiences."  — Teaching Tolerance

About Black Lives Matter At School: Black Lives Matter at School is a national coalition of educators, parents, and students organizing for racial justice in education that encourages community organizations and unions to join their annual week of action during the first week of February each year. During this week, schools across the country work in solidarity to launch a shared set of lessons and examine their schools’ policies in pursuit of social and educational equity for their black students.

About the Title: "The term culturally sustaining requires that our pedagogies be more than responsive of or relevant to the cultural experiences and practices of young people—it requires that they support young people in sustaining the cultural and linguistic competence of their communities while simultaneously offering access to dominant cultural competence. Culturally sustaining pedagogy, then, has as its explicit goal supporting multilingualism and multiculturalism in practice and perspective for students and teachers. That is, culturally sustaining pedagogy seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain—linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling."  — Django Paris, 2012

About the Facilitator: Keisha L. Green is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she works with Secondary English language arts pre- and in-service teachers. One of her current research projects is a partnership with Holyoke Public School Ethnic Studies Program where she and her colleagues facilitate professional development for teachers. Her scholarly interests are English Education, youth literacy practices, critical literacy and critical pedagogy. She is published in journals including Equity & Excellence in Education, Race, Ethnicity, and Education, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and Educational Forum. She has authored chapters in edited volumes including Humanizing Research: Decolonizing Qualitative Inquiry with Youth and Communities, and Youth Voices, Public Spaces, and Civic Engagement. Prior to her faculty appointment, Dr. Green was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University. She earned her PhD in Educational Studies from Emory University.

About the History Institute: “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies and Teaching for Black Lives” is the 2019-2020 theme for the annual UMass Amherst History Institute. The History Institute is the UMass History Department’s signature offering for educators. Since 1994, this annual institute has offered local educators a valuable opportunity to explore historical themes in depth, to make meaningful connections with historians at UMass and beyond, and to stay abreast of current scholarship in the field. Each year, the institute consists of a series of lectures and workshops with local scholars and teacher trainers. Recent themes included: teaching with current events, im/migration in the modern Americas, local 1960s’ social justice movements, and teaching in the age of mass incarceration.


  • Keisha L. Green, Series Instructor, Assistant Professor, UMass Department of Teacher Education & Curriculum Studies:
  • Jess Johnson, Series Coordinator, UMass History Department Outreach and Community Engagement Director:

* This graduate credit is offered through University Without Walls, which is not able to accept course waivers as a form of payment.