Ethnic Studies Course

Ethnic Studies Course

Our Purpose for This Page

NUSD is developing a new Ethnic Studies course, based on the Model Curriculum written by the California Department of Education. It is very important that the content of our new Ethnic Studies course meet the diverse needs of our local Natomas community, which is why we are seeking your input as the course is developed. We appreciate you taking the time to answer the following questions. If you have questions about Ethnic Studies please email your questions to [email protected].

NUSD Board approves Pilot Ethnic Studies Course

The Natomas Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a pilot Ethnic Studies course during Wednesday night’s board meeting. This comes after extensive research and work on the course development from a group of NUSD teachers, review of work in other districts and partners such as Sac State and UC Davis, and input and feedback from our staff, parents, and students. Layla, a student from Leroy Greene Academy, provided her input to the Board. Before requesting Trustees to approve the new course, she shared that an Ethnic Studies curriculum will allow students to see themselves in learning and increase their understanding of one another and their community. She also commented, “It will encourage students to connect through their differences and similarities.”

After hearing additional public comments from teachers and parents, all in support of the new course, Board President Micah Grant shared his own experience growing up as a Black male and not seeing himself and successful minorities reflected in textbooks and curriculum while in school. Using the example of his father, an immigrant from Jamaica who became successful and never complained, Grant stated, “My hope is that as the curriculum is built out, there is a lot more talk about what’s possible in this country rather than what’s not achievable.” He further shared that the NUSD Board is an example of what’s possible with its diverse representation.

With Natomas Unified School District being one of the most diverse school districts in the country, creating an Ethnic Studies course reflective of the population was critical. The path toward a diverse curriculum reflective of the Natomas community began with the creation of a Race and Social Justice elective course in 2019 available to students at Inderkum, Leroy Greene, and Natomas High School. Last spring, NUSD took additional steps when the Board approved a new district approach to allow each student to see, feel and hear their historical and cultural experiences in the school curriculum. At its core, the idea is designed to ensure the curriculum represents each student, bringing students together by recognizing and celebrating their differences, their similarities, and seeing hope for the future (something all students deserve, right now more than ever).

This course will begin as an elective for high school students starting in the 2022-2023 school year before a state requirement to offer at least one-semester course in Ethnic Studies starts in the 2025-26 school year. This will give district staff ample time to seek feedback from stakeholders so that the course content and materials can be adjusted to best meet the needs of our local community far in advance of the state deadline. Ethnic Studies becomes a graduation requirement in California for the graduating class of 2030.

And the work continues… A group has been established to look at Multicultural Art electives in the middle schools with a target of starting in the fall of 2023. An infusion of new material in elementary schools has begun with a very targeted pilot in 2022. That work will expand over the next few years with the Board considering new investments in literature, classroom books, and library resources at all grade levels. In the next few years, our classroom resources will be more representative of all students.

All of this movement forward is in direct support of one of the district’s Core Values – valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Ways to Share Your Voice

Please reach out with questions or feedback here: [email protected].

Engagement & Outreach Efforts