HUDSON – Hudson Public Schools educators recently provided an update on a now two year-old effort to evaluate and improve diversity in school curriculum.
They spoke during a School Committee meeting on Jan. 25, discussing their findings and experiences related to this work.
“What we teach and how we teach it is almost always in continual motion,” said Hudson Director of Humanities Todd Wallingford. “Critically, we want to choose texts that matter to kids that reflect [students’] identities.”
These latest efforts kicked off amid what Wallingford described as “long delayed” conversations on race, diversity and oppression following the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Since then, school officials have conducted an “audit” of individual units in the English curriculum.
They have made changes aimed at addressing concerns like representation in texts assigned through classes.
“These characters are so important to kids because they inspire,” Wallingford said. “We have to lead our kids in a place where they’re not cynical, where they feel like they have an understanding of the world and a belonging in it.”
School Committee members voiced support for these efforts, thanking Wallingford and Hudson High School teacher Amy Plackowski for their presentation.
In this, the committee did discuss questions over whether classic literature will continue to be included in programs as these changes continue.
Wallingford noted that classic books will, indeed, remain part of the curriculum.
“We’re not overhauling our entire curriculum,” Wallingford said.
“I would say, in each grade, there is one classic we’re holding on to,” he added.
In attending this Jan. 25 meeting, Plackowski spotlighted a class she’s helped develop. Dubbed “Linguistics and Media Studies,” units in this class, in part, aim to use language to combat bias and racism by “demythologizing beliefs about language varieties and their users.”
The class further allows students to become “critical consumers of media,” Wallingford said.
“We look at language like a geologist looks at rocks,” Plackowski said, explaining the specific philosophy of linguistics as a field of study in a high school setting.
School Committee members reiterated their thanks for this presentation on Jan. 25.
This work, Wallingford noted, is ongoing.