Charlottesville High Schools earned a shout-out in USAToday on December 10 for its direct discussions about race in its English 9 honors-option classes. After in-class discussions and activities relating to the award-winning novel The Hate U Give (plus a field trip to see the movie), there was also an evening panel discussion featuring students and author Angie Thomas via Skype. Thanks to Jefferson School African American Heritage Center for their hospitality and leadership in hosting the panel discussion.
Thomas praised Charlottesville’s direct approach to learning from the white supremacist rallies in August 2017: “It gives me hope for the rest of the country.”Since last year, CHS librarian Anne Ernst has been working on OneBook, dedicated to a community “Big Read” of the book as a response to A12. OneBook also coordinated a special printing of the book for free distribution. This is the second year that the 2017 book has featured prominently in the English 9 curriculum since it raises topics that are timely and relevant to the Charlottesville community and CHS students’ lives.
The USA Today mention arose from local coverage of this initiative in Sunday’s Daily Progress. That article features Ernst plus CHS teachers Jenn Horne and Andy Josselyn, along with CHS students Joseph Gainey, Sam Schuyler, and Elana West-Smith.
Superintendent Rosa Atkins noted, “This is just one example of ways that our teachers and staff guide students to engage with crucial issues. These discussions require courage from teachers and students. They are important and meaningful to all of us. Thanks to all involved for their leadership.”
- Daily Progress Article by Katherine Knott
- Link to USA Today references (mid-way through the larger column):