On November 30, 2020, the Balsz Elementary School District announced that they would be home to a pilot program providing professional development for teachers related to the controversial 1619 Project.
According to the release, “Teachers will participate in six workshops as part of the program, with content curated from the Times’ reporting and the Pulitzer Center. They will then be able to use the program’s tools to implement information from The 1619 Project into their lesson planning. The workshops will feature guest speakers from the Pulitzer Center and the National Museum of African American History & Culture, among others to discuss the content of the project, and right now the group is working to have Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times reporter who spearheaded the project, as the featured speaker.”
The release notes “Valley residents Lisa Olson and Shelly Gordon are on a mission to bring The 1619 Project to every public school in Arizona. Olson and Gordon have partnered with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at ASU. They are working with Center Director and ASU Foundation Professor of English, Lois Brown, PhD, to implement a new professional development program designed to educate teachers so they can create lesson planning around The 1619 Project and bring this culturally relevant material into their classrooms.”
It continues “The 1619 Project Advocates of Arizona is also working with the ASU Center for the Study of Race & Democracy to launch a teaching institute in the summer of 2021, where teachers can deepen their understanding of The 1619 Project and how it can be implemented into schools.”