More inclusive: Local principal, teacher to help review history education in Virginia

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Civil Rights march in Washington, D.C. in 1963 (Library of Congress)
Civil Rights march in Washington, D.C. in 1963 (Library of Congress)

The Virginia Department of Education has created a new advisory committee to review the state requirements for history in public schools.

The Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee will give recommendations during the History and Social Science Standards of Learning 2021-2022 review, according to a joint news release from VDOE and Gov. Ralph Northam.

“Inclusive and culturally relevant learning environments are vital to creating equitable pathways to success for all Virginians,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “The work of this committee will advance our ongoing efforts to tell the complete and accurate story of Virginia’s complex past, improve our history standards, and give educators opportunities to engage in important conversations and lessons with their students.”

Other tasks include recommending education guidelines for school divisions to teach students about “anti-bias” and professional development resources for staff such as teacher preparation programs, licensure and licensure renewal.

The advisory committee is made up of 41 members and includes two representatives from the Historic Triangle: Kristin Bolam, a principal at Mt. Vernon Elementary School in the York County Public School Division and Steve Legawiec, coordinator of social studies at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools.

Bills passed during the 2020 General Assembly session tasked VDOE with picking members for new committee, whose first meeting was Jan. 6. You can view the meeting on YouTube here.

The committee’s deadline to send their recommendations to Northam, the Board of Education and the House Committee on Education and Senate Committee on Education and Health chairs is before July 1, 2021.

For more information about the committee, visit the Virginia is for Learner’s website. 

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