McAllen ISD now offering 2 new ethnic studies classes

McAllen ISD is now offering new opportunities for high school students who want to take a deep dive into history, ethnicity and culture.   

The ethnic studies courses, Mexican American Studies and African American Studies, will begin in fall 2021. Each course is a year-long credit and students in 10th-12th grades have the opportunity to sign up.

To find out more, families can contact their high school counselor or call McAllen ISD Student Outreach at 956-687-MISD (6473).

These two elective courses will weave history with the cultural contributions of Mexican Americans and African Americans. All Social Studies courses consist of eight strands which include history, geography, economics, government, citizenship, culture, science technology and society plus social studies skills.

Mexican American Studies will emphasize historical events in the 20th and 21st centuries, but students will also engage with older events. The course spans events from the Aztec Empire and Spanish Conquest to the role of Mexican Americans in World War II, the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement to present day issues. Students will learn about the history and cultural contributions of Mexican Americans from an interdisciplinary perspective.

African American Studies is designed to assist students in understanding issues and events from multiple perspectives. Students will gain an understanding of the historical roots of African American culture, especially as it pertains to social, economic and political interactions within the broader context of United States history. Students will analyze important ideas, social and cultural values, beliefs, and traditions. When students understand events and achievements of the past, it provides them with a broader context within which to understand and address the many issues facing the United States today.

Many students do not have the opportunity to take courses like these before college, according to McAllen ISD Social Studies Coordinator Clarissa Abbott.   

This coursework will count toward class rankings and two student endorsements -- Arts & Humanities plus Multi-disciplinary studies. McAllen ISD offers all five of these areas of specialized study, known as endorsements, offered in Texas.