Ethnic Studies 

Ethnic Studies is the critical and interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, indigeneity in the United States, including curriculum that encompasses multiple points of view that reflect the diversity of all our students. Ethnic Studies focuses on the experiences and perspectives of people of color and supports all students to develop and utilize a critical lens to see the world and their role as an active citizen in a global society.

Learning experiences in Ethnic Studies can foster self love, empowerment, community, solidarity, and hope in a way that is responsive to all of our students. In addition to developing the skills of DJUSD's Graduate Profile, Ethnic Studies can also help students understand how our social construct is affected by race and the root causes of oppression, power, and privilege. 

Ethnic Studies Task Force 


In the 2019-20 school year, DJUSD formed the Ethnic Studies Task Force, a group of over 100 participants eager to explore and help contribute to the development of a program. The group began investigating the driving question: How can Ethnic Studies best meet the needs of our students? 

In March 2020, DJUSD paused this and other important initiatives because of COVID-19. During the summer, however, DJUSD offered an unprecedented opportunity for 40 hours of professional development for every teacher in our District, including modules in equity and access, a focus on Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), a book club on CRT attended by 102 staff, and the DJUSD Administrative Leadership Team received a third year of leadership training for equity and liberatory design.  All of this professional development has had an impact, particularly as it relates to equity, and that will influence the way we think about Ethnic Studies.

Ethnic Studies Work for 2020-21 School Year

As we adapt to a virtual environment, DJUSD has re-engaged in this important work and is leading a Student-centered and Teacher-guided process to introduce Ethnic Studies learning experiences in the classroom this school year. 

Why is Ethnic Studies Important?

DJUSD is pursuing work in the area of Ethnic Studies for several reasons. 

  • We believe the work of Ethnic Studies will improve conditions and opportunities for all students to see themselves honored in the curriculum and their school experience. 
  • We believe Ethnic Studies will support our effort to confront disproportionate levels of engagement and achievement of many students, particularly of students of color. 
  • We believe that Ethnic studies will improve and increase racial awareness for all of our students. 

Next Steps

The Ethnic Studies Task Force will convene in December 2020 to discuss the role of community support for students and teachers engaging in Ethnic Studies activities throughout the year.  

Below is a general timeline of the plan to adopt an Ethnic Studies program in DJUSD. 

  • Dr. Christine Sleeter Presentation (October 7, 2020)
  • Ethnic Studies Staff Orientation (October 12, 2020)
  • Ethnic Studies Student Orientation (October 15, 2020)
  • Ethnic Studies Task Force Meetings (2020-21)
  • Scholar Webinars & Professional Learning (2020-21)
  • Lesson, Activity, Unit Pilots (2020-21)
  • Reflection and Synthesis (Spring 2021)
  • Formal Recommendation to the Board of Education (Fall 2021)

Future School Years

  • Program Planning (2021-22)
  • Program Implementation (Fall 2022)

To join the Ethnic Studies Task Force, please complete this form.

View the recording of the Ethnic Studies Update  presented to the Board of Education on October 15, 2020. 

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Virtual Evening with Christine Sleeter, Ph.D. on Transformative Ethnic Studies in Schools.

On Wednesday October 7th, DJUSD hosted a webinar on Transformative Ethnic Studies in Schools.  The webinar video can be accessed here. 

The session included a presentation that discussed Ethnic Studies and its relationship with multicultural education, how students of color experience it, impact of ethnic studies on all students and more. There was also be a brief question and answer session.

Presenter Bio:
Christine E. Sleeter, PhD. is Professor Emerita in the College of Education at California State University Monterey Bay, where she was a founding faculty member. She is past President of the National Association for Multicultural Education, and past Vice President of the American Educational Research Association. Her research focuses on anti-racist multicultural education, ethnic studies, and teacher education. She has published over 150 articles and 24 books, including Un-Standardizing Curriculum (2nd ed. with J. Flores Carmona, Teachers College Press) and Transformative Ethnic Studies in Schools (with M. Zavala, Teachers College Press). She is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and a member of the National Academy of Education. Awards for her work include the American Educational Research Association Social Justice in Education Award, and the Chapman University Paulo Freire Education Project Social Justice Award.

Ethnic Studies Task Force Presentations
December 8, 2020 Slide Presentation - English Spanish

January 14, 2021 Slide Presentation - English Spanish

February 11, 2021
Slide Presentation - English Spanish 
Video Presentation (English)