Seattle Public Schools (SPS) launched a Filipinx American U.S. History course for middle and high school students. The course was created with the local Filipino community and ushered in by current Ethnic Studies program manager Alekz Wray.
The expansion of ethnic studies courses was spurred by the lack of Filipinx courses in SPS’s original catalog. In June this year, SPS announced Black and American Indian studies.
“This was a product of the community that has been living this history, because who’s telling the story is super important,” Wray said to the “South Seattle Emerald.”
A focus during the curriculum’s development was intersectionality, University of Washington Seattle professor Dr. Third Andresen said to the Emerald.
Over the past couple of years, Dr. Andresen has lead the creation of the curriculum.
“The things we’re looking for are like, let’s make sure this curriculum is not anti-Black. And it’s not settler-colonial, it’s not transphobic, it’s not classist, it’s not ableist,” Dr. Andresen said to the Emerald.
Now, the plan is to be able to provide professional development for teachers so that they can accurately teach these subjects.
Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tina Riss Christiansen told the Emerald that there are 11 students currently enrolled in the virtual Filipinx U.S. History class. Additionally, there are a couple hundred eighth graders at Salmon Bay K–8, TOPS K–8, and Pathfinder K–8 who will also take the class this school year.
“This was the Filipino, Filipina, Filipinx American communities’ story to tell, and because the community still has ownership over this curriculum, they’re still able to empower and uplift and keep this as a living curriculum,” Wray said.
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