The Amherst Study Circles: Dialogues on Race and Class were a series of dialogue and project action groups begun in 2002 to discuss and enact social change in the school districts and communities around Amherst, MA. They arose as a response by the Amherst Regional High School (ARHS) Parent Center to a question to their group: What were they going to do about racism in the Amherst Schools? The ARHS Parent Center Board suggested the study circle model, and a round of facilitated pilot groups were run in February 2003. The successful pilots stirred the organizers to seek additional support, and with funding from the Amherst Education Foundation and the Amherst Drugs Free Partnership, additional groups were organized each year, building awareness, trust, and power amongst those striving to improve the community’s schools for all students. Almost 200 people, including school administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members participated over the course of several years, and each group culminated in an action forum and set up action groups to propose and enact tangible steps towards specific goals. Action groups affected change in school climate, policies, and course offerings, and organized a standing committee of the ARHS Parent Center called RaDAR: Race and Discipline, Action, Rights.
The Amherst Study Circles: Dialogues on Race and Class Records consist of descriptive materials from the ARHS Parent Center; an organizer’s binder with sections on the origin in 2002, participants, action groups, finances, curriculum, and evaluations; and additional materials such as evaluations for study circle sessions and facilitators, newspaper clippings of articles about the group and their work, and documents for student study circles, such as advertisements, curriculum, and certificates.
- Amherst (Mass.)--History
- Amherst Regional High School (Amherst, Mass.)
- Amherst Regional High School Parent Center
- Wolf, Jackie