The Prescott College Tucson Center has had some major developments over the past few weeks, led by Dr. Anita Fernández. In a quest to share the College’s experiential education model to a broader audience of students, on May 18 Dr. Fernández, along with Changemaker High School CEO Luis Perales, presented to the Prescott College Corporate Board a partnership with Mexicayotl Academy and Changemaker High School in Tucson. The goal is a pipeline of students who enter an educational program with an emphasis on place-based, intercultural learning at a young age and progress through the Prescott College system to emerge with the tools to become leaders in their communities and achieve meaningful careers. Said Dr. Fernández, “The development of the K-20 Changemaker Campus is an opportunity for the college, Changemaker High School and Mexicayotl Academy to model experiential, culturally responsive, dual language and environmentally just pedagogy across the grade levels. We envision this partnership attracting educators, organizers, administrators and social entrepreneurs to visit the campus and learn from the dynamic activities happening there.” Mexicayotl Academy has a dual language curriculum focused on respect, responsibility and social justice, while Changemaker High School states their vision is “All graduates will be prepared for college, career, and civic engagement.”
Dr. Fernández’s presentation came just a few weeks after she presented a workshop at the Chapman University Ethnic Studies Summit, entitled “Decolonizing Pedagogy Through Counter-storytelling”. She explained, “This workshop provided a frame for decolonizing the classroom using a counter-storytelling methodology. Counter-storytelling incorporates critical race theory (CRT) as a method for centering the lives of minoritized people in the curriculum, specifically into the Ethnic Studies curriculum, to expose, analyze and challenge deeply entrenched narratives and characterizations of race, class, gender etc.” This is the third annual summit, with the goal of exploring the power of critical consciousness, spirituality and solidarity in the movement for Ethnic Studies.
And capping this flurry of activity and recognition will be Dr. Fernández’s commencement address to graduates of Changemaker High School next week. “I am deeply honored to be the keynote speaker for Changemaker High School's graduation this year,” said Dr. Fernández, “to celebrate this dynamic group of young changemakers who are going on to make a critical social impact on their communities. I hope to encourage the class of 2018 to use their skills for social change, to imagine the unimaginable and to remember that the have a responsibility to their families, their communities and most of all to themselves to continue their changemaking work.”