My students are the pride of East Los Angeles! They have drive and integrity and take great pride in being awesome human beings. They are a resourceful group who collaborate well and are always up for a challenge.
Our school is a pillar of the East Los Angeles community and prides itself on its record of growth and achievement.
While we are a Title I school and nearly 90% of my students qualify for free or reduced lunch, my students are so much more than statistics. They are outstanding young people whose generosity and motivation make me happy to come to work each day.
My AP Literature students need to read widely and deeply to succeed at the college-level work we do in class. As a part of this, I require students to read one self-selected book of literary merit per quarter. I define this as a book that has appeared before on the open question essay of the AP exam, or a book of similar quality that just hasn't made it on yet, and provide them with a list of hundreds of books to choose from. Unfortunately, the literary canon is dominated by white men, which is something that none of my students identify as. I've worked to diversify our reading list, but the books of "literary merit" that students can access for free because they're out of copyright are not very diverse.
I am requesting copies of several books of literary merit that are written by women and/or people of color so that even students who can't afford to buy them on their own can access diverse novels as we prepare for the difficult AP exam.
My students need to see the diversity of our classroom reflected on the shelves, to remember that women and people of color write books of literary merit as well, and to know that they are in a classroom that prioritizes traditionally marginalized voices. This project is a step towards making my AP class more affirming of the students who take it.
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