HRE Integration Guide Update

A new lesson, entitled “Digital Rights”, was added to HRE USA’s Curriculum Integration Guide.  The lesson was prepared by Karen Hopkins and Shabnam Mojtahedi, HRE USA members in Washington DC and field-tested by HRE USA member and social studies teacher Jake Torsiello with students at Randolph HS in Randolph Twp. NJ. 

As of August 1, 2021 John Terry, the NJ/PA regional representative for HRE USA, will assume the coordinator role for the Curriculum Integration Project as HRE USA Steering Committee member Bill Fernekes, moves on to other human rights-related projects.

Bill Fernekes
Bill Fernekes

A tribute from John Terry on Bill Fernekes work…
It was in 2014 that I was first introduced to Bill Fernekes and a working group of educators he had assembled at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. I was an early career educator who had limited working knowledge of human rights but was passionate about developing quality and meaningful lessons for students in my social studies classes. Despite this background, Bill had invited me to develop a lesson plan that would model how to integrate human rights content and principles into a lesson for a history class I was teaching. Thus, with the guidance of Bill and my colleagues in this group, I had a crash course introduction to the world of human rights education. I found an affinity with this group of educators in that they were academically and professionally focused, while also dedicated to a shared set of principles and values, and I responded to Bill’s subsequent invitations to contribute to this group’s work. 

In the years since, I have contributed model lesson plans to HRE USA’s Curriculum Integration Guide, served as a peer reviewer for other lesson plan contributors, and provided professional development based on the lessons I and others have contributed to the Guide. In addition, I also assembled a Service Learning for Human Rights Education Guide, which was published on HREUSA.org alongside the Curriculum Integration Guide’s lesson plans and other materials on HREUSA.org. If it was not for my work with this particular project in human rights education, I do not know if I would be the same practitioner of and advocate for human rights education that I am today. Last year, I was honored when Bill called upon me to serve as a Regional Representative for HREUSA.org, and this year, I intend to deepen my role as a volunteer for the organization by taking on responsibility for overseeing the open-ended work of developing the HRE USA Curriculum Integration Guide and making it come alive for the educators who may benefit from its existence.

HRE USA wants to thank Bill Fernekes for his vision, mentorship, and significant contribution to the development and implementation of this HRE USA initiative for the past six years!