One of KAS’s 4 Guiding Principles is a Social Justice and Civic Engagement Emphasis. We commit to a social justice curriculum that promotes a culture of service, responsibility, and civic engagement. Our goal as a learning community is to foster open and honest dialogue. We celebrate and value diversity and difference, and acknowledge that not all members of our community enjoy the same privileges, historically and presently.
Social Justice has a presence throughout the school curriculum. In Language Arts and in our Library materials, we strive to embody the words of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop: “Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience.” KAS believes students should both see their own lives represented and encounter new lived experiences in their school reading.
Social Studies offers students the opportunity to think critically about their world, and especially, to develop the awareness that history can be interpreted by the teller. We seek out primary sources and scholarship by underrepresented voices to hear these stories from their own points of view.
Social Justice topics of study have included:
- Indigenous boarding school experiences
- Women, LGBTQ+, and Black Americans in the Revolution
- Climate injustice (the greater effects of climate change on poor and less-privileged individuals worldwide)
- The intersectionality of poverty and physical and mental health, language, ethnic or racial background, gender, sexuality, age, and disability
- Individual research opportunities, such as National History Day.
Students prepare themselves to be leaders of change by learning how to present their opinions in writing, images, and speech. They make mock ballots for elections and justify their choices. They are encouraged to join in real-world activism, such as by holding fundraisers for Ukrainian refugees and joining protests demanding that students be safe from guns at school.
KAS students learn to ask questions about power: who has it, how they have acquired it, and what they are doing with it. They learn that we all have some power, and it is up to us to use it well.