Students´ Call For Culture Classes is Heard

Reace Rinehart, Feature Editor

With the recent social injustices in our country, students’ call for more diverse education is being heard on campus. Two new courses with an emphasis on exploring different ethnicities are being offered at PHS next year and are available on the Course Request Form (CRF). 

The first course, Ethnic Studies, is a social science class open to all grades and is a “G” college prep elective. “There is no prerequisite, so it’s really about exploring students’ identities, knowing how they fit in with their race, culture, gender, all the things that make up who they are and how they fit into the larger society, and also how everybody’s identity has really helped the country,” current AVID teacher and incoming Ethnic Studies teacher Karen Kawasaki-Williams said. 

The class will cover race, culture and identity, migration and immigration, power and oppression, and social movement and advocacy. Since it is a two trimester course, there is a lot of time to engage in a deep understanding of the outlined topics. 

 “I’m excited about this course because in a world history or a US history course, a lot of these groups are not really recognized as much,” Kawasaki-Williams said. 

For seniors, a new English class called as Ethnic Literature has been added. Although Ethnic Literature is located in the elective category on the CRF, according to the District Office, this class will count as the B English requirement. 

 Ethnic Literature will first focus on establishing identity and recognizing your own lens and then later will cover stories and poetry from voices of marginalized communities to show and celebrate their literature and their experiences. 

 “I think it’s going to end up being a lot more reflective… I see a lot of journaling, I see a lot of reflecting, I see a lot of dealing with challenging conversations,” English Department Chairperson Katherine McMillan said. 

The goal for each class is to learn about people from other cultures, what they went through and the challenges they still face today.  “I’m super excited for the new ethnic classes on campus because I think it is incredibly important to have knowledge of different ethnicities that aren’t talked about as much in our curriculum,” junior Kate Bylsma said. 

If learning about different cultures interests you, consider signing up for these classes on your CRF.