ASLE 2017-2018: Social Justice, Race, and Mass Incarceration

The 2017-2018 All-School Learning Experience (ASLE) was student-led and involved the entire school community in a series of learning opportunities across the year under the themes of diversity, equity, privilege, and inclusion.

This ASLE began with the summer reading of a core text, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander.

Our learning opportunities began with a school-wide, student-led discussion of the book. This was followed by a second learning opportunity, an All-School Meeting on bussing in Boston in the 1970s, a tumultuous period when the city attempted to comply with Brown v. Board of Education by forcibly integrating the city’s schools.  In October, we hosted a community-wide panel discussion entitled “Mass Incarceration: Causes and Cures” in partnership with BU’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground.

In the spring, we had an all-school showing and discussion of the documentary “13th,” which addresses issues of race and mass incarceration. It is directed by Ava DuVerny, director of Selma.

Our final learning opportunity, in the spring, was a student-led discussion of the history of police violence against civilians in the United States.

This ASLE inspired many challenging, thought provoking discussions as a school community, and provided an opportunity to become more aware of and informed about matters of social and racial justice. This work built upon our ongoing collaboration with Boston University’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground.

Designed and guided by Dr. Jennifer Formichelli and a group of BUA students, this ASLE aimed to bring our community into important contemporary conversations in American life, to make local connections to the city in which we live and study, and to enable and embolden our students to apply this learning experience to everything they study at Boston University Academy.

We hope that increased awareness of these difficult issues has encouraged our students to be more involved and enabled citizens within our school and in their local communities.