The ANCA Western Region Education Committee in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Member, Kelly Gonez and her team, have created a comprehensive K-12 Teacher’s Guide of resources and frameworks to help educators teach about the Armenian Genocide. In 2019, Gonez introduced a resolution which passed unanimously in 2020, establishing April 24 as a student and staff-free day, allowing teachers, students, administrators, and families to observe and remember the Armenian Genocide. This year will be the first that LAUSD students will have the important day off. The guide serves as a critical tool for teachers to educate their students about why they have the day off, and what they can do to commemorate the event annually.
“In the last four years, Board Member Gonez and her amazing staff have been dedicated to the cause of justice through teaching the truth about Genocide to educators, students, and parents. As a community, we are beholden to board member Gonez, her board colleagues and Superintendent Carvalho for their continued courage and strong advocacy to prevent such atrocities from being repeated”, said ANCA Western Region Education Committee Chair, Alice Petrossian.
The K-12 teacher’s guide will be disseminated to educators on April 10, and includes historical background on the annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, the arrest and murder of intellectuals, and the everlasting consequences of the genocide that can still be observed today. Key lessons within the guide are segmented by grade-level appropriate topics, and materials can be adopted into existing curriculum, and adapted to fit the learning needs, strategies and timelines in individual classrooms. Along with lecture and written exercise proposals, the guide provides visual arts prompts for students K-12 to expand their understanding of solidarity, remembrance, commemoration, and activism. Following in-class lessons, the guide provides information about annual commemorative events at places like the Armenian Genocide Monument at Bicknell Park in Montebello, along with virtual tour opportunities using USC Shoah Foundation’s Mobile iWalk app.
In 2021, the ANCA Western Region and LAUSD Board Member Kelly Gonez hosted a series of webinars, “Honoring Past and Present: Legacy of the Armenian Genocide Series”, for educators and families focused on effective methods for implementing Armenian Genocide education in classrooms and promoting cross-cultural understanding in the community. It focused on helping educators empower students to become caring community members by exploring the significance of cross-cultural understanding, belonging, and civil responsibility through the lens of the Armenian experience. The webinar featured guest speakers like Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Councilmember Paul Krekorian, and Superintendent Austin Beutner.
To accompany the release of the Teacher’s Guide, on April 19, at Mt. Gleason Middle School, LAUSD will hold: “Remembering the Armenian Genocide: Memory & Remembrance to Awareness & Action”. The event will feature remarks from Board Member Gonez and Representatives of the ANCA Western Region’s Education Committee, a gallery of student art work and submissions, student performances, and informational booths. Students and educators who have displayed extraordinary works and dedication to teaching the important historical event will be recognized at the event as well. Educators are encouraged to submit their student’s works by April 12, and all members of the public are welcome to RSVP to the event using this link. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 19 from 4-6PM at Mt. Gleason Middle School (10965 Mt. Gleason Ave., Sunland, CA 91040).