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DFW School Districts Enter into “Upstander Partnership” with Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Bringing Valuable Museum Curricula into the Classroom

Dallas ISD joins Coppell ISD to integrate custom TEKS-aligned educational resources for grades K-12

DALLAS, Aug. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is pleased to announce Dallas Independent School District has entered into Upstander Partnership agreements with the Museum to offer TEKS-aligned civics and citizenship skills curricula for grades K-12, joining Coppell ISD. Building year over year, the program gives school districts lessons and resources to better inform students’ academic careers and positively impact their futures beyond the classroom.

“The Museum is thrilled to partner with these forward-thinking school districts to bring our innovative programming to more North Texas students than ever before,” said Mary Pat Higgins, Museum president and CEO. “Through this exciting partnership, 73,500 students and teachers in North Texas school districts gain exclusive access to the Museum’s incredible educational resources and our remarkable education staff members who will assist teachers in guiding their students’ primary and secondary education.”

The Upstander Partnership is a program that allows districts to integrate the Museum’s history-informed civics and citizenship education through a consistent and engaging cross-curricular learning plan for grades K-12 that encourages students to become upstanders in their community.

“At the Museum, we highlight upstanders throughout history. An upstander is someone who stands up for their rights and for the rights of others,” said Higgins. “We believe every student who participates in this program will be equipped to become an upstander – someone who sees something wrong and works to make it right and who works to combat injustice, inequality, or unfairness.”

The Upstander Partnership curriculum is aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) – the state standards for what students should know and be able to do according to academic subject and grade level.

The partnership includes:

  • Access to the Upstander Education Database, an online learning portal that includes interactive lessons, classroom resources, and teaching strategies
  • Field trips to the Museum
  • Virtual or at-school Museum Educator presentations
  • Professional development for teachers
  • Strategic planning and coordination with Museum Educators

“As one of the largest school districts in Texas, Dallas ISD understands it has a significant responsibility to instill skills in our students that they can take with them beyond the classroom, and the Museum’s Upstander Partnership will help us accomplish that goal,” said Dr. Michele Broughton deputy chief of teaching and learning at Dallas ISD. “Integrating this curriculum in our schools will give students the tools to become everyday upstanders in society and embrace a future of achievement, civic responsibility, and professional success.”

“Coppell ISD has enjoyed a strong partnership with the museum for two years now, and the resources they provide have integrated seamlessly into our existing curriculum,” Coppell ISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said. “We are delighted that other school districts are now joining, because we know their students, teachers and communities will benefit from making this unique educational resource available in their schools.”

The Museum’s emphasis on upstander skills is part of an integrated learning program designed to improve academic success, encourage cooperative social behavior, foster a positive school climate, and produce engaged citizens.

The Upstander Partnership offers grade-tailored curricula that cover a student’s academic career until graduation. Kindergarten through grade 3 focus on community and diversity in the “Let’s Talk Kindness” phase, becoming aware of core skills such as respect, empathy, inclusiveness, responsibility, and empowerment; grades 4-5 are introduced to upstander versus bystander behavior in the “What is an Upstander” phase; grades 6-8 focus on civics and one’s personal role in society in the “Don’t be a Bystander” phase; and grades 9-12 learn from the past, becoming aware of changemakers in their own lives and community, and implement upstander skills strategies in the “Becoming an Upstander” phase.

“The Upstander Partnership provides a ready-made and personalized database of lessons and resources that help teachers engage their students on important life skills and encourage them to embrace upstander behavior both in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Charlotte Decoster, senior director of education at the Museum.

The Museum is grateful to the Constantin Foundation, the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission, and an anonymous foundation for their support of the pilot phase of the program and to Amazon and Toyota for their support of the Dallas ISD participation.

“Amazon is proud to partner with the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in this important endeavor,” said Vickie Yakunin, head of community affairs for Amazon’s North Texas region. “Educating the next generation about the dangers of bigotry and antisemitism is critical to the well-being of our society. Through this partnership, kids at every grade level will interact with an impressive array of teaching tools that will mold them into promising leaders of tomorrow.”

“At Toyota, we believe community partnerships focused on allyship will have an impact for generations to come,” said Tellis Bethel, chief diversity officer and group vice president of social innovation at Toyota. “Through our support of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, we look forward to helping bring this curriculum to thousands of students who will learn what it means to be an upstander, supporting our vision of limitless possibilities for all.”

Said Mary Pat Higgins: “We have known for years that a visit to the Museum can be life changing. And that’s why we’re so excited to offer not just one experience a year, but multiple touchpoints via lessons about the importance of upstander behavior, over the course of a child’s academic career, K through 12. We hope the students will be with us for 13 years, and I think this will have a dramatic positive effect on the youth in our community.”

About the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Founded in 1984 by local Holocaust survivors, the institution now resides in a new building in downtown Dallas where visitors experience a deeper immersion into the history of the Holocaust, human and civil rights, their centrality to our democracy, and their vital importance in preventing events like those of the Holocaust from happening again. The 55,000-square-foot permanent home covers three floors, and the main exhibition includes four wings that teach about the Holocaust, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II, historical and contemporary genocides, and America’s civil rights journey. Please visit DHHRM.org or call (214) 741-7500 for more information.

About Dallas ISD
The Dallas Independent School District is continually preparing nearly 141,000 students for college or a career. The district offers a competitive mix of innovative programs, choice programs and instructional initiatives that support the increased academic achievement and the social and emotional development of its students. Innovation, tenacity, vision, and equity are key drivers that have shaped Dallas ISD into one of the area’s most prominent and forward-looking school districts. To learn more, visit www.dallasisd.org.

About Coppell ISD
Coppell ISD is a premier public school system with a statewide reputation for educational excellence. This high-performing and innovative district serves more than 13,000 learners in the communities of Coppell, Dallas (Cypress Waters), North Irving, Lewisville and Valley Ranch.

SOURCE Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dfw-school-districts-enter-into-upstander-partnership-with-dallas-holocaust-and-human-rights-museum-bringing-valuable-museum-curricula-into-the-classroom-301904644.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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