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Outreach Program

The Center for Black Studies received a "Faculty Outreach Grant" for its project "Uncovering the Middle Passage and its Relevancy for the 21st Century". The Faculty Outreach Grants represent recognition on the part of the University of its responsibility to underrepresented students.
The purpose of the project is to introduce the "Middle Passage" curriculum to Santa Barbara County elementary and middle school students. It is an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on the slave trade and its historical impact and consequences on U.S. social and cultural institutions. It incorporates U.S. and world history, math, science, geography, language arts, and the arts.
The Middle Passage curriculum was developed and pioneered in Chicago in 1998 and has been successfully introduced in over 160 schools, across the nation, with relatively large minority populations. Sherry BushrŽ from the Chicago Teachers Academy led an intense 2-day workshop on the curriculum for the participating teachers and for an undergraduate student and graduate student, from UCSB, hired to assist the teachers in the classroom. An important aspect of the program is the use of computers as a vehicle in creating a "virtual classroom" in which a portion of the material is accessed though the internet, a portion is on video, and a portion is in print.
At present, the curriculum is being implemented in the classrooms of Jean Rogers-O'Reilly and Blake Garmand at Adams School in Santa Barbara, in Edi Juricic's classroom at Community Day School, also in Santa Barbara and in the classrooms of Juanita Johnson, Oranne Hilgerman and Shannon Sheets at El Rancho School in Goleta. All are fifth grade classes. We are grateful for the enthusiastic support of Jo Ann Caines, Adams School Principal and JoAnn Young, El Rancho School Principal. We hope to expand the program to other grade levels and to schools throughout Santa Barbara County in the future.

For further information, please contact the Project Coordinator, Nicole Williams by email,, the Director of the Center for Black Studies, Claudine Michel, at 893-3914 or Shirley Kennedy, Coordinator for Cultural & Community Affairs at the Center for Black Studies, at 968-8847.

UCSB Center for Black Studies Faculty Outreach Grant Interim Report-February 2001

Uncovering the Middle Passage and its Relevancy for the 21st Century.
Our project, which brings the "Middle Passage Voyage" curriculum to the school children of Santa Barbara and Goleta, has been well received, both on campus and in the community. We began with a "road show", a display and video illustrating the broad vision of the Center's projects. It was taken to schools, churches, clubs and other organizations to acquaint parents, teachers, school administrators, and citizens with the purpose and focus of the curriculum, and its place as part of the Center's projects. The result has been support and endorsement across the spectrum from grass roots activists to elected officials. Colleagues across many disciplines were helpful in joining us to explore ways in which our respective disciplines could work together toward the vision. This outreach helped us to achieve broad and deep support across the social, political, and academic spectrum.

The Center is most gratified by the unanimous support from the school superintendents in the four school districts to whom it was presented last summer. Superintendent Debbie Flores of the Santa Barbara School District introduced the curriculum at a meeting of district principals to enthusiastic response. Follow-up contacts with the principals produced immediate inquires of interest in the program. We met with Superintendent Ida Rickborn and Assistant Superintendent Dan Cooperman of the Goleta Union School district twice last summer to determine how they could be of assistance in helping us contact principals and teachers in Goleta. Superintendent Bill Cirone of the Santa Barbara County School District, and Superintendent Debra Bradley and Ann Gary, Director of Curriculum of the Lompoc Unified School, expressed strong interest in the curriculum. Unfortunately, due to budget and resource limitations, it was not possible to offer the program to all that were interested; thus it was not made available to students in the North County this year. It is our hope to be able to expand the program and extend the curriculum to those schools next year.
After our summer meetings, we selected six classrooms in three schools. In Santa Barbara they are Adams School (two classrooms) and Community Day School (one classroom.) Three classrooms were selected at El Rancho School in Goleta. All are fifth grade classes.

Early in the Fall Quarter we met with the principals from the selected schools, and later in the Quarter with the teachers themselves. A graduate student and an undergraduate student were hired to assist the teachers in the classroom. Sherry BushrŽ from the Chicago Teachers Academy led an intense 2-day workshop on the curriculum for the participating teachers and our student assistants.

Equipment has been delivered to the schools and the implementation of the curriculum is now underway. We have received a great deal of positive feedback from the teachers, and all express the desire to see the program expanded to more classrooms and schools next year.

I heard an unmistakably clear message from local teachers and principals expressing disappointment in the level of interaction and the dearth of outreach between the university and the community in which it is located, and which it logically should be serving. The perception is that UCSB has not been as responsive to neighborhood schools in its own backyard, as it has to schools many miles away, far south to Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego, and inland to San Bernardino. Whether or not this is a valid charge, it is definitely one that is widely believed, and which may well have been a factor in the cordial reception we received. The Center is happy to enter this perceived gap, and is grateful for the warm welcome, regardless of the reason.