Social Justice Academy @ East
As featured on the NBC Nightly News, the thematic academy at East Chapel Hill High is the Social Justice Academy. An overview is provided below.
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, greater emphasis is placed on identifying and analyzing patterns of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, age, health, religious, political and criminal, economic, environmental, and human rights based discriminations present in and practiced by institutions (both formal and informal) against individuals and groups in societies over time to enable students to recognize and respond to the inequitable nature of, and injustices that continue to persist in, today’s world.
Furthermore, 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 (in course work and curriculum) among students and teachers, 2) experiential learning, and 3) service to others.
How does it operate?
Students enrolled in the Academy will take classes with their fellow members all four years of high school. All classes within the Academy are blended. Teachers in the Academy, in turn, will collaborate with one another and with colleagues in the Arts, Foreign Language, and AVID programs to design class days that supplement the traditional English and History curriculums by incorporating works and topics of study from our drama, art, music, and language. In terms of experiential learning, each year students will be 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, International Human Rights. Students also will have opportunities to get hands on experiences via 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., respectively, 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 Czech Republic/ Austria/Germany, Turkey,France, Peru, Italy and taking classes at Oxford University. Finally, each incoming class will be required to complete their required 25 hours of service learning for graduation at identified/approved local Social Justice community organizations. Students will also be expected, over the course of four years, to attend Social Justice community events and 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 all students must take both a core social justice perspective English and Social Studies course each year, plus one additional humanities elective, and complete all other program requirements. Note: All SJ course 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 freshman registration form on this website to Mr. Link (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than March 26, 2021 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 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.