SPEC 29
Down the Road and Across the World: Transformative Education in Pittsfield Public Schools Winter 2023

Class Details

By the time you graduate high school, you will have spent somewhere around 12,600 hours sitting in classrooms. When you’re a student, you only experience one class at a time-but have you ever thought about the work that goes into running an entire district? From choosing a curriculum to training new teachers, from spending a $65 million budget to hiring over 2,000 employees, there are countless decisions that district administrators need to make each day. How do they design a school system that meets the needs of thousands of students, and what is their role in creating a more equitable society-starting in pre-school? Over the course of your Winter Study, you will work closely with Judy Rush, Curriculum Director, and Ryan Buggy ’19, Equity of Learning District Data Coordinator at Pittsfield Public Schools. Each week, we will explore a new topic within K-12 education, such as the use of data to eliminate identity-based opportunity gaps, the alignment of instructional practices with scientific evidence, and the different services we provide to meet the needs of a diverse range of students. Throughout the entire month, you will also try your hand at creating curriculum resources for our teachers-and even get a chance to use them yourself with students of your own. We will meet once a week virtually and twice a week in person for a total of ~12 hours. During virtual sessions, we will check in on the curriculum design projects and discuss readings from texts such as The Knowledge Gap by Natalie Wexler, Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity by Edward Fergus, and Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond. Then, during our in-person sessions, you will have the opportunity to sit-in on meetings between educational administrators and ask questions about their roles. You will also spend some time in the classroom, seeing what it’s like to teach in a high-needs public school district, and discuss it with your peers over dinner.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Expected: NA
Class#: 1295
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Short paper and final project or presentation.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: If overenrolled, students will be asked to provide a brief summary (1-3 paragraphs) of relevant K-12 experience and explain why they're interested in the course, particularly if they're considering a career in public education.
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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