Middle School Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion
Middle School is a time where students are very invested in issues of right and wrong and personal identity. This provides authentic investment in learning about systemic injustice and its impact on people’s personal lives and identities. Social justice topics appear throughout Nueva’s Middle School curriculum woven across disciplines and grade levels.
For instance, fifth grade incorporates an inquiry-based unit focused on social change movements. The students respond to key questions such as “Why do people seek change?” and “What do human beings need to flourish?” They explore these questions further through a visual study of past protest movements, including the anti-apartheid movement, labor movements, and marriage equality. Furthermore, they learn how movements build upon each other and that one transformation often leads to another. Each student then researches a topic of particular concern to them and strategizes how best to educate the public about it through artwork and speech. Ultimately, students develop an appreciation for the history and work of social justice.
Likewise, in seventh grade, students explore the impact of colonialism by researching a variety of commodities and their effect on the countries where they are found. For example, students may look at the production of rubber or chocolate or tea and consider the long-term consequences and often hidden costs of these industries on the people who are actually producing these materials and goods.
“I went to the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) this year every Tuesday I was available. Initially, it was because I should be there: I was one of the co-leaders. Later, I found that I kept coming back because the people who stayed the first few weeks formed a tight group that I loved being with.”