DJUSD Adopts Ethnic Studies
Posted on 11/05/2021
ethnic studies logoDavis Joint Unified School District Adopts Ethnic Studies

Davis, Calif. - (Nov. 5, 2021)
-- In close partnership with the Davis community, Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) staff brought a recommendation to the DJUSD Board of Education last night to adopt a District-wide Ethnic Studies program. This recommendation, which was unanimously approved, includes a future Ethnic Studies course and graduation requirement for the class of 2029. Ethnic Studies is grounded in the values of the Davis community and derived from the voice, passion and advocacy of its many members, including many DJUSD students and staff.

Ethnic Studies is the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity and indigeneity in the United States that focuses on the experiences and perspectives of people of color, particularly from the Native American, African American, Asian American and Latina/o/x American communities.

In line with the DJUSD “We all Belong” Resolution, the Graduate Profile, research on student achievement and advocacy from our students and community, DJUSD pursued the adoption of Ethnic Studies to support the development of all students’ academic skills, explore issues of identity, analyze systems of power, examine social movements and to practice speaking and listening to divergent experiences.

“We envision Ethnic Studies in our schools where all students, particularly our students of color or from historically marginalized communities, see themselves in the curriculum,” says Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services, Rody Boonchouy. “Through this program, all students will gain a cross-cultural understanding and foundational sense of equity and justice.”

District staff brought this recommendation forward because of a firm belief that Ethnic Studies is for everyone in that it brings people together by addressing racialized experiences and ethnic differences as real and unique, and through greater understanding and communication, reveals the underlying commonalities that ultimately bind and unify us.

Throughout the two-year exploration process into an Ethnic Studies program, DJUSD staff established an Ethnic Studies Task Force, which was comprised of more than 100 staff, students and community members to provide input and help guide program planning. In the spring of 2021, DJUSD launched an Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee to help inform the development of the District’s recommendation, which included a comprehensive, multi-year implementation plan.

“As Ethnic Studies is still very new in K12 education, we will look to resources, including the state-adopted model curriculum and expertise throughout our community to support the development of this program moving forward,” says Interim Superintendent Matt Best. “We feel confident that our partnership with our community, staff and students will enable us to deliver a successful Ethnic Studies program, and we are grateful for their contributions and commitment to our students.”

Ethnic Studies Legislation in California
Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 101 into law this fall, requiring that Ethnic Studies be a graduation requirement in all California school districts, starting with the graduating Class of 2030. Ethnic Studies course offerings must be in place for the Class of 2025-26.