Social Justice Academy @ East
As featured on the NBC Nightly News, the thematic academy at East Chapel Hill High is the Social Justice Academy.
What is the Social Justice Academy?
The Social Justice Academy at East Chapel High School is a Humanities-based interdisciplinary program that seeks to examine the world in which live from a “ground-up” rather than “top-down” perspective. In particular, emphasis is placed on identifying and analyzing patterns for age, criminal, economic, environmental, ethnicity, gender, health, human rights, political, race, religious, and sex discrimination present in and practiced by institutions (both formal and informal) against individuals and groups in societies over time. This will enable students to recognize and respond to the inequitable nature of, and injustices that continue to persist in, today’s world.
By applying the lenses of tolerance, fairness, and equality to the texts and topics we study, students, consistent with the Academy’s principles, can further begin to instill within themselves a life-long commitment to becoming responsible, caring, open-minded citizens devoted to promoting social justice within their communities. To achieve these ends, the Academy’s mission is three-fold: to promote 1) a collaborative community among students and teachers through course work and curriculum, 2) experiential learning, and 3) service to others.
How does it operate?
Students enrolled in the Academy take classes with their fellow members all four years of high school. Classes in the Academy are blended. Teachers in the Academy collaborate with one another and with colleagues in the Arts, World Language, and AVID programs to design class days that supplement the traditional English and History curriculums by incorporating works and topics of study from drama, art, music, and language.
In terms of experiential learning, each year students are offered the opportunity to hear guest speakers. Past topics have addressed Islamophobia, the Holocaust, Immigration Law, Voting Rights, Farmers' Rights, History of Black Chapel Hill, Native American Heritage, Rights of the Previously Incarcerated, Preventing Rape Culture, and International Human Rights. Students also have opportunities to get hands-on experiences through travel. Students have attended theater productions, the NC Art Museum, the NC Symphony, as well as travelled regularly to Washington, D.C. and New York City, N.Y., to explore major institutions of finance and government like the U.S. Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, NYSE, and the N.Y. Federal Reserve.
Over spring break, students are given the opportunity to travel abroad to further their horizons and cultural understandings. Past trips have included travel to the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Turkey, France, Peru, Italy and England. Students have also taken classes at Oxford University. Finally, each incoming class will be encouraged to complete 25 hours of service learning at local Social Justice community organizations. Students are expected, over the course of four years, to attend Social Justice community events and to help out and participate in school clubs and events, like the Capstone Equity and Inclusiveness Summit.
Who can be a part of it? Where and when can you sign up for courses?
Any student can be a part of the Social Justice Academy. Enrollment is voluntary, however SJA students must: 1) take a core Social Justice English AND a Social Justice Social Studies course each year, plus one additional humanities elective, and 2) complete all other program requirements. Note: All SJ courses count toward NC graduation requirements. *AVID students are automatically enrolled.
If you’re interested in enrolling in the SJA as an incoming freshman, you need to do the following: 1) sign up for College Prep or Honors Social World History & College Prep or Honors English I Social Justice Perspective with your counselor during the course registration period, AND 2) submit the freshman registration form on this website to Mr. Link (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than March 30, 2023 to be included in the initial pool of applicants.
Please direct all questions about this year’s enrollment process to your counselor and/or Mr. Link. *Historically, the Social Justice Academy is always over-enrolled. If more applications are submitted than spots are available for freshman year, students will be enrolled by lottery. In subsequent years, continued student enrollment will be determined by satisfaction of course and service learning requirements. Students not entering the Academy in their freshman year, may subsequently enroll in their sophomore, junior or senior year if space is available. The process is similar to the path described above.