College Credit

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Course Description

This course expands educators’ professional toolkit by introducing professionals to culturally relevant theory, research, and practice. This course addresses topics designed to help maximize children’s potential, foster an equitable classroom environment, and develop meaningful relationships with children and their families. The intention of this course is to introduce a broad range of topics that will complicate participants’ understanding of the issues, and help participants examine ways to improve outcomes on a policy, school and classroom level. A recurring and central question of the course is: How can I transform the atmosphere and curriculum of my classroom and school to promote powerful, effective, and socially-­just learning communities? Topics covered in this course include:

  • Building Brilliance in Black and Brown Children
  • Dis/ability as an Equity Issue in Early Childhood Settings
  • Trauma Informed Care for Young Children
  • Socioeconomic Status and Class
  • Attracting More Males to Early Childhood Education
  • Indigenizing Education
  • Creating LGBTQ and Gender Inclusive Schools
  • Media Culture and the Over-Sexualized Childhood

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Learner Outcomes

Students who complete this course successfully will be able to:

  1. Understand how identity, ability, trauma, social class, colonization, gender identity, and other aspects of social development may impact a child’s participation and ability to thrive in school.
  2. Validate students’ cultural experiences, expressions, and practices in curriculum and pedagogy.
  3. Redesign curriculum and classroom environments to honor and reflect the background of children in the room, and in the world.
  4. Co-construct places of learning, working with colleagues and families to develop and deliver culturally relevant curriculum in shared learning communities.
  5. Facilitate conversation on sensitive topics in developmentally appropriate ways.
  6. Integrate culturally responsive strategies in developing policies, building relationships with colleagues and customers, and managing classrooms and schools.

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Course Instructor

Sarah Felstiner, Education Director at Hilltop Children’s Center
BA Psychology, Yale University
MA Human Development, Pacific Oaks College
23 Years of Experience as Educator, Curriculum Director, and Education Director
Phone: Please use email instead
Office Hours: By Appointment

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Course Outline

The topics covered in this course is centered around issues of equity affecting policy-making, leadership teams, and classroom instruction.

Topics covered in this course include:

  1. Building Brilliance in Black and Brown Children
  2. Dis/ability as an Equity Issue in Early Childhood Settings
  3. Trauma Informed Care for Young Children
  4. Socioeconomic Status and Class
  5. Attracting More Males to Early Childhood Education
  6. Indigenizing Education
  7. Creating LGBTQ and Gender Inclusive Schools
  8. Media Culture and the Over-Sexualized Childhood

In each topic, students may be asked to engage in one or all of the following methods:

  1. Small-group discussion
  2. Large-group discussion
  3. Hands-on Practice
  4. Presentation
  5. Active Learning – Online Reading, Writing, Visual and Auditory Learning
  6. Online Reading


Course Assignments / Assessment of Objectives


Attendance at all 8 sessions is required in order to pass this course.  Each participant will be asked to offer one reflection in the year at the end of the class, highlighting the biggest takeaway they learned from the session and how it may impact their learning community. Failure to attend class without a valid excuse prior to the session may be subject to a failing grade.

Scaffolding Assignments:

Throughout the course, you will complete four – 1page assignments that will help you to build your final paper. Each of these assignments will be worth 10% of your overall course grade.  These assignments are:

  • Identify the systemic change you would like to take place in either your classroom, your school, your school policy, or the district you work in and provide commentary, due November 20th
  • Initial List of Sources and One Sample Source, due December 20th
  • Working Thesis Statement and Commentary, due February 20th
  • Draft of Abstract and Introduction Section, due March 20th


Final Paper: The final draft of your paper will be due by 11:59pm on May 20th, 2019. Your final paper is worth 50% of your overall grade.

All final papers are expected to be between 5-7 pages in length, typed, 1.5 spaced, 12pt Times New Roman and include the following sections:

  1. The Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Methodology
  4. Results
  5. Discussion
  6. References

The percentages for the overall course grade will be as follows:

  • Attendance 10%
  • Scaffolding Assignments 40%
  • Final Paper 50%

Your writing will be assessed against the course outcomes listed above. Here’s how the instructor defines each grade level:

A (95+) = superior attainment
B (85+) = meritorious attainment
C (75+) = adequate attainment
D (65+) = minimal attainment
E (64 and below) = insufficient attainment, no credit

Note that your writing is not dependent on strength of writing but based largely on critical inquiry and self-exploration and ability to tie in elements of the entire course in your final paper.  You must earn a C in order to pass this course.


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How to Register

This 3 credit course cost $1,150.

Email Mike at to pre-register.

Then click here, or visit Seattle Pacific University Continuing Professional Education and search “Catalyzing Socially Just Educators and Schools,” to pay the down payment of $165.  Students will be able to pay online with credit or debit card.

Registration deadline is 11:59pm on Monday, October 15th, 2018.

The remaining course cost is sent to Hilltop Children’ Center and is due by 11:59pm on Thursday, November, 1st 2018. Students will be able to pay online with credit or debit card.

For more questions on payment, registration, or course content please email Mike at

**SPU credit courses allow you to earn academic credit that may be applied toward a college degree. Because policies vary, check with your intended degree program before registering for a credit course to make sure your credits will apply.**


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