The Bridging Roxbury program connects teachers and students with the institutions, people, and history that has shaped Roxbury, Boston, and the United States for centuries.
Discover Roxbury connects the school community to these important assets through:
1. Experiential learning through neighborhood tours,
2. Classroom visits; and
3. Teacher seminars
Experiential learning through neighborhood tours
Discover Roxbury was founded on the premise that we learn more about other people when we know where they’re “coming from,” thereby bridging the “empathy” gap with firsthand knowledge. Discover Roxbury’s resident guides have led thousands of students and hundreds of educators on two-hour tours, both on trolley and by foot. Along the route, participants are challenged to drop dated assumptions and stereotypes as they engage with the community and its residents. Students explore a variety of sites and ask questions about their findings. Educators explore sites related to their teaching specialties, interview passersby, and link these interactions to their curricula. Additionally, both students and teachers participate in a facilitated discussion about their experiences as part of a communal process of discovery.
The newest addition to Bridging Roxbury is structured classroom interaction, which are ideal for schools lacking the means to send a class on tour and universities interested in a guest speaker. This works especially well for classes interested in diving deeply into a topic. Classroom visits are also great advance preparation for a tour as specific questions are explored thoroughly in advance, and are reinforced learning after a tour. Previous classroom visits have spanned topics from changing demographics to media perceptions of Roxbury and cultural entrepreneurship.
Modeled after seminars organized by The Education Cooperative, the teacher seminars are full-day explorations of topics related to race, class, immigration, media perception, and social justice. The seminars help educators better understand urban communities and their own roles in reinforcing and/or reducing unjust social and educational structures. The intended result of the seminars is to assist teachers with thinking more critically about inequities and understanding how to reduce the social isolation and dispel the stereotypes they may feel about urban students and communities.