JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new fellowship funded by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund is bringing social justice initiatives to schools.
Abby Solano is a dual language teacher at West Riverside Elementary and the inaugural Wolfburg Fellow for Social Justice Education.
This new fellowship focuses on diversity, inclusion, equity and education.
The Wolfburg Fellowship is a unique opportunity for teachers to advance their professional development while leading change in their classroom.
“I think it’s something we’ve needed for a very long time. And the pandemic and everything that occurred over the summer has just gotten to a point where we cannot wait any longer to start focusing on these things,” said Abby Solano, inaugural Wolfburg Fellow for Social Justice Education.
Bringing social justice education to the classroom.
This fellowship gives a $7,000 investment to present social justice initiatives to students.
“You can’t learn if you are not being treated fairly. You can’t learn if you’re not represented in the classroom. So learning and social justice go hand in hand,” said Solano.
The new fellowship enhances diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom, through professional development and a yearlong class project rooted in issues surrounding identity and representation.
“It’s almost like writing prompts but instead of turning it into an essay, they would turn it into photos, to share with me and the class how they see themselves, how they represent themselves. So a series of self-portraits but not only their faces but represent yourself with a still, what’s a food that represents you, what’s an image that represents you, so they can start crafting their identity with photos,” said Solano.
The next phase of Solano’s class project will be for her students to research how they’re represented in the media.
Solano, a Latina said receiving the surprise announcement was also twice as special because it was awarded to her during Hispanic Heritage Month.