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Graphic on how outdoor education can solve issues of COVID-19 and systemic COVID racism

Opinion | Taking school outside could be the answer

A graphic essay on how to handle COVID-19 and systemic racism.

Editor’s note: “Facing Change and Changing Schools” is a graphic essay by Stephanie Jones, James F. Woglom and Seattle School Board Director Liza Rankin about how outdoor education can help solve many issues caused by the pandemic and by systemic racism. 

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About the authors

Stephanie Jones is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Georgia. Her research tends to focus on issues of gender, social class, race, place, literacies and the opportunities people have or don’t have to expand and change in ways they find inspiring and fulfilling. Since the pandemic started reshaping education in March 2020, Stephanie has published essays in The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has been a guest on NPR’s “On Point.” She and James F. Woglom have been creating innovative comics and graphics based on educational research and philosophy for several years, including their award-winning book “On Mutant Pedagogies: Seeking Justice and Drawing Change in Teacher Education.”

James F. Woglom is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Humboldt State University.  He received his doctorate from the University of Georgia, where he studied arts-based research methodologies and socially engaged practices. His co-authored graphic novel on social justice-oriented teacher education, “On Mutant Pedagogies,” was awarded the American Education Research Association’s Qualitative Research Group’s Outstanding Book Award and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award in 2017.

Liza Rankin is a School Board director for Seattle Public Schools, currently serving in the first year of a four-year term. With Directors Brandon Hersey and Chandra Hampson, she co-authored the Fall Reopening Substitute Resolution that was unanimously approved by the School Board in August, and directs the district to support outdoor and community learning opportunities this fall and form a task force to provide recommendations for Outdoor and Community Learning in SPS as a districtwide program. She is the parent of two SPS students, a third-grader and a sixth-grader, providing real-life studies for public education in the time of coronavirus! A former theater professional and educator at the college level, she holds a master of fine arts degree in design for theater and is the current chair of the Student Services, Curriculum and Instruction Committee in SPS, leading with a commitment to supporting policy and practice for inclusive and equitable education, and seizing opportunities for positive change in the midst of challenging situations.

To learn more about outdoor learning pilots in SPS, please visit SPS’s Outdoor and Community Education site.