Whitman Teaches the Movement
Whitman Teaches the Movement (WTTM) is a volunteer program coordinated by Whitman College, the Walla Walla Public School District, and the Southern Poverty Law Center that is focused on improving Civil Rights education. As a volunteer in the program you are trained in a teacher-tested curriculum about the Civil Rights Movement. You are then given the opportunity to implement this lesson in a local Walla Walla classroom in the weeks surrounding Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day. The curriculums currently incorporated in the project focus on 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 11th grade classrooms. This program allows Whitman students to become involved in the local community, gain experience teaching in front of a class and learn about a critical time in United States history.
WTTM was started in 2011 as a response to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report on state standards for Civil Rights education. In this report each state received a letter grade for their Civil Rights education standards, and about 2/3 of the states received a failing grade, including Washington and the entire West Coast. As a response a few staff members at Whitman teamed up with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program and the Walla Walla Public School District to create Whitman Teaches the Movement. Over the past few years the project has become more established within the community and within Whitman College and is now celebrating its first year of being an official Student Engagement Center Run Program.
- Three years of Whitman College volunteers have learned and implemented their programs in local Walla Walla schools in collaboration with local teachers, WWPS and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Held a summit for civil rights education with educators from around Washington to help them deal with issues of discrimination.
- Coordinated extra lessons regarding Cesar Chavez at Walla Walla High School and Lincoln High School.
- Organized a panel of Whitman faculty to speak on current issues in civil rights.
The Southern Poverty Law Center: Teaching Tolerance
“The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program works through educators to nurture a new generation that is more accepting of difference and more engaged in social justice than those that preceded it. We want kids to get along with each other and, just as important, see themselves as global citizens in a diverse society with the capacity to work together for a fairer world.” (http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/teaching-tolerance)
The Walla Walla Public School District
WWPS is the local school district here in Walla Walla that “educates a diverse population of over 6,000 students. The district is comprised of: two high schools, two middle schools, six elementary schools, and a child development center hosting HeadStart/ECEAP programs.” (http://www.wwps.org/district/information/about-us)
Visit the WTTM Blog for the latest news!
For New Volunteers
How do I get involved in WTTM?
WTTM volunteers should sign up during the fall semester by getting in contact with the community service office at the SEC.
How much of a time commitment is WTTM?
In addition to teaching about an hour-long session in January, volunteers must attend a few hours of training in their curriculum and a kick-off event. There are other events that take place, but many of these are optional. Other than this, volunteers are expected to keep in contact with the project coordinator about scheduling and any other questions or concerns that arise.
For Current Volunteers
What should I do if I cannot make it to an event or to my assigned day of teaching?
Contact the project coordinator immediately. If it is possible to find someone to cover for you or switch shifts with you, this would be ideal, if not then we must know as soon as possible so we can reschedule the session or help you find someone to fill that gap.
How do I get to my school?
We will be organizing transportation. For those schools that are closer, it is possible you may need to walk. For others, we will work on an individual basis to find drivers.