Testimonials

Before this class I didn’t really understand why the U.S. has certain ideals and values and what they mean. Now I feel like I can explain many current events and many things based on history and ideals. I think the course has prepared me to be an effective citizen because I have learned so much about racial segregation and the reasons for racial inequality such as housing segregation and education which can be changed by policies. Now that I know the problems I can help fix them through actual policies and I can be an active citizen.–Student, in anonymous end-of-the-year student survey

[Ms. Magwood] engaged us parents in a conversation with the students and what impressed me the most, aside from the incredible amount of content, knowledge and perspective they have gained, was how they spoke about concepts they are learning, “to deliberate rather than debate,” “to have empathy for perspectives other than their own,” and how the class is providing them with a safe space to discuss and appreciate their own perspectives and differences in a really supportive environment. Huge appreciation to you for setting the tone and enabling the space for this kind of profound learning at [independent school].–Parent, in an email to the Head of School

Yes, of course I learned more facts when I was in the honors U.S. History class…. interesting but useless facts that I will probably never use again. In contrast after I transferred into your class, I learned fewer facts, but I gained insight into myself, American society and current issues, and I am now able to participate in adult conversations about politics and society.–a student who transferred to my U.S. History class from Honors U.S. History

A question that gets asked a lot in school is ‘how can I use this in the real world’ and Ms. Magwood showed us how to use what we learned and deliberate and discuss differences. I can now use these debate skills to talk to family members and friends or even just people that I encounter to try and prove my points. I can also back these points up with historical evidence.–Student, in anonymous end-of-the-year student survey

I loved the unit on systemic racism so much! It was the only thing I learned at [independent school] that felt like it had anything to do with me or had value in my life. I appreciate you more than you know for making this a part of my high school experience.–African-American alumna

Ms. Magwood’s impact on this Department, and [independent school] as a whole, extended beyond the classroom as well. She pioneered different kinds of community engagement that brought our students in meaningful partnership with a variety of constituents in Washington DC. Her parent-discussion night where US history students joined their parents in robust, “Socratic seminar” style discussions about current political and civic issues have become a mainstay of our Humanities high school experience and have enriched the dialogue in our community about the pertinent social-political discussions of our day. It was not a big surprise that such an innovative idea was quickly picked up by forward-thinking news agencies like NPR who did a story on the event. Ms. Magwood’s community engagement work at [independent school] culminated in the creation of her Mapping Inequity in DC course that asked students to take a critical look at spacial, political, economic and racial inequities in our city and to use Arc-GIS technology to create “story maps” detailing the students’ findings. Not only did this course open up new doors for students who had not experienced success in some of our more traditional humanities courses, it also required students to directly engage with community partners in making presentations about their findings at conferences and community panels that focused on topics such as gentrification. In short, Ms. Magwood demonstrated a keen eye for innovative curricular and course design. The accolades she received and invitations that were extended to her by professionals outside [independent school] to speak about this part of her work as a teacher reflect to the respect she garnered in the educational community. –Department Chair, independent school

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