A University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate and one of the school’s current students are working together to bring social justice education programs to Arkansas charter schools.
Clinton School graduate Chad Williamson (‘10), Co-Founder and Producer for Frontlines of Justice, and second-year student LaShawnDa Noel, Executive Director and Superintendent of Arkansas Lighthouse Academies, have created a partnership between their organizations to add a new social justice course to ALA’s curriculum starting in the fall of 2021.
"We are thrilled to announce this partnership with Frontlines of Justice," Noel said. "The civil unrest of the last year was a profound reminder that radical change is needed in the name of social justice. Our academies are committed to eliminating the achievement gap and paving the way for scholar success. We believe this partnership further enables this commitment."
Arkansas Lighthouse Academies is an affiliate of the national nonprofit network of charter schools known as Lighthouse Academies. Frontlines of Justice is an online, video-centric eLearning platform designed to create social, racial, and educational justice through compelling content and curriculum. It reimagines education through the lens of film, technology, and high-fidelity storytelling.
"We're excited about this partnership with ALA," Williamson said. "We believe that all teachers should be exposed to the culturally responsive teaching competencies and all students should understand how to engage in social justice work."
The digital platform is conducive for professional development and ALA teachers and scholars alike will partake in online courses covering social, racial, and educational justice.
“This collaboration between LaShawnDa and Chad is a testament to President Clinton's vision that public service is a noble pursuit,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. "Implementing this program is not only a game-changing moment for education in Arkansas, but serves as a beacon for the nation proclaiming social justice and public service are bound together in the pursuit of our common humanity.”
The curriculum is a collection of digital lessons designed to help teachers and students discover and analyze the history of systemic oppression that has affected justice-impacted people and communities for centuries. Scholars learn how to work toward an equitable and just society. The foundation relays to scholars an obligation to themselves and their community to identify, name and destabilize injustices. This social justice curriculum is designed to inspire scholars to be upstanders and provides them with the analytical and practical tools to lead and serve.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.