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Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History

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TEAACH Summer Academy: August 1, 2023


Illinois made history in 2021 as the first state to pass the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act, which mandated the inclusion of one unit of Asian American history in K-12 public education in the state. This free one-day summer academy, hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Education, provides an opportunity for educators to convene to reflect on the passage of TEAACH, learn about valuable resources in Asian American curriculum development, and discuss continued challenges and opportunities for the critical inclusion of Asian American voices in US history. Six professional development hours will be offered for educators in the state of Illinois.

The teaching academy is generously funded by The Asian American Foundation. 

To help coordinate on-site details and accommodations, we request that you register by July 22, 2023 for in-person attendance. Meals will be provided for in-person participants.

In-person seating limited, so register soon!

Download a PDF of the summer academy (including the schedule) here!



Register Here!


SCHEDULE: August 1, 2023

9:30am: Registration & Check-In

For in-person attendees, you may check in at UIUC's College of Education: 1310 S. Sixth Street, Champaign IL 61820.

Registration will occur in rooms 15 and 17 (in the basement). All sessions will occur in room 22.

Virtual attendees can log into Zoom (registrants will receive zoom link).

10:00am–10:15am: Welcome!

Welcome remarks by representatives from the University of Illinois College of Education, the Illinois State Board of Education, Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Chicago, the Asian American Foundation, and others.

10:15am–11:45am: Leading to TEAACH (Keynote and Plenary Session)

A session featuring keynote Dr. Asif Wilson, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who will speak to the importance of inquiry-based, and inclusive social studies teaching and learning experiences like TEAACH.  The keynote will be followed by a panel discussing the significance of the TEAACH Act for schools, teachers, students, and parents.


  • Anna Park: Social Science Teacher, Northside College Prep
  • Jung Kim, Professor of Literacy and Co-Department Chair of Education, Lewis University
  • Mary Manching, Youth organizer, past youth representative for the TEAACH steering committee

Asif Wilson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Social Studies Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Wilson’s research broadly focuses on justice-centered pedagogies in P-20 educational contexts and has been featured in peer-reviewed publications like the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, the Journal of Educational Foundations, and Rethinking Schools. Wilson started his career in education with Chicago Public Schools as a middle school social studies and science teacher. Before moving to his role at UIUC, he was a community college Academic Affairs leader, serving as Dean of Instruction and Executive Director of a non-profit organization where he conducted his dissertation research on liberatory education.

Anna Park is a National Board Certified social sciences high school teacher in Chicago Public Schools. At one of the top schools in the state, Park teaches AP US History and Honors Sociology. She has been a member of the school's curriculum team and is currently co-facilitates the school's Culture and Climate Team. Park is one of the faculty sponsors for the school's Asian Club, one of the largest clubs at the school and also serves as the co-facilitator of the school's Student Voice Committee. In addition to full time teaching, Park is a current doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.
Jung Kim is a Professor of Literacy and Co-Department Chair of Education at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. She is a 1.5 generation Korean American, a mother, ultra runner, and school board member (She just stepped down from being President of the board). Jung has published two books on teaching with graphic novels and her most recent co-authored text with Dr. Betina Hsieh is on the racialization of Asian American teachers. She also writes about out-of-school literacy and diverse literature.

Mary Gabrielle Manching (she/her) is a daughter of Filipino immigrants and a youth organizer. Born and raised in Chicago, she spent much of her high school career in community organizing and advocacy around immigrant and refugee student issues. On Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community’s (CBCAC) Origin youth program, she worked on the curriculum design and facilitation team to design and facilitate 50+ lessons on Asian American identity, Chinatown history, and civic education. Manching also organized with immigrant and refugee student leaders for greater health and language resources at Asian American Advancing Justice KINETIC youth program. She served as the youth representative for the TEAACH steering committee, where she strategized how to center the student experience on the promotion and implementation of the TEAACH Act. She is studying history and political science at the University of Richmond.

12:00pm–12:50pm: TEAACHing in the Face of Pushback (Lunch Discussion)

A lunch discussion on the challenges of teaching inclusive critical histories in the face of resistance from parents and care givers, community leaders, and politicians. Discussion will revolve around strategies and messaging that educators can utilize.

  • Erica Thieman, Director of K-12 Standards and Instruction, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
  • Elizabeth Sotiropoulos, former parliamentarian and school board member of Champaign Unit 4 School District
  • Yamali Rodriguez- Gruger, Director, Department of Social Science, Chicago Public Schools

Erica Thieman, Ph.D. Agricultural Education, oversees the Standards & Instruction Department of the Illinois State Board of Education which administers Mathematics, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Fine Arts, Computer Science, Driver Education, Advanced Learners, and Educational Technology. She has over 20 years of experience in education (K-12, secondary, adult, and post-secondary) and a lifetime of experience in production agriculture.

Elizabeth Sotiropoulos (she/they) is a former parliamentarian and school board member of Champaign Unit 4 School District, where she co-authored an antiracism resolution. She was also elected to Resolutions Chair of the Illini Division of the Illinois Association of School Boards, where she worked with school board members across the state to advocate for data-driven policies that increase funding and legislative support for school districts. Elizabeth's passion for children's rights and academic justice began when she was adopted from foster care -- her early experiences as a Champaign Unit 4 student led her to found and run a tutoring center that serves students and educators with ADHD, autism, and other mental health and behavioral health challenges.

Yamali (Yah-mah-lee) Rodriguez- Gruger is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first generation college graduate. Her journey into the world of Social Science began while attending the University of IL at Chicago. It was there where for the first time she had educators who looked like her and engaged her in learning that was reflective of and centered on exploring and strengthening her identity. Through these Latino Studies courses she discovered her deep love of history. In 2006, armed with her Secondary Education -Teaching of History degree she began to serve the communities she grew up in on the southside of Chicago. She spent the next 12 years deepening her pedagogy at Benito Juarez Community Academy and Social Justice High School while engaging young people in the exploration of their histories, identities, and communities. In 2018 she joined the CPS Department of Social Science as a content specialist and began coaching teacher leaders in shifting their mindsets and practice towards culturally responsive, inquiry-based education. She is now the Director of the CPS Department of Social Science. 

1:15pm–2:15pm: Critically Assessing Curricular Sources in the Teaching of Asian American History/Herstory (Working Session)

How do educators critically assess books, existing lesson plans, and resources on Asian American histories/ herstories? This workshop will guide and empower librarians, educators, and other stakeholders on how to use different evaluation rubrics to critically analyze the representation of Asian American and Pacific Islanders for use in curriculum.

  • Sarah Park Dahlen, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Julian Ignacio, Associate Director, Student Development and Evaluation, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sarah Park Dahlen 박사라, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She researches Asian American youth literature and transracial Korean adoption. She co-edits Research on Diversity in Youth Literature; co-edited Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World; co-created the Diversity in Children’s Books infographics; and co-wrote the APALA Rubric to Evaluate Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth Literature.


Julian Ignacio is the Associate Director for Student Development & Evaluation for the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC). Julian earned Bachelor/Master of Science in Accountancy degrees with a minor in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Arts in Teaching History at UIC. Julian worked as a high school social studies teacher in a predominantly Latine and Black school within Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He volunteers for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) by providing workshops on Filipino culture and history and consulting on accounting. Prior to becoming a teacher, Julian worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and served on the board of the University of Illinois Asian American Alumni Network and the diversity, equity, and inclusion committees for Workiva and Crowe Horwath.


2:30pm–3:30pm: Primary Documents in Asian American History/Herstory Lesson Planning (Working Session)

This session will discuss lesson planning and show examples of how to incorporate primary sources to build inquiry-based, inclusive curriculum on Asian American histories/herstories.

  • Jon Hale, Associate Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Marlee Bunch, Staff member for K 12 initiatives, Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign

Jon Hale, Ph.D., is an associate professor of education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on the history of student activism and the intersection of race and educational policy. He is the award-winning author of The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, which won the 2017 New Scholars Book Award (American Educational Research Association, Division F, History) and the 2018 Critics Choice Book Award (American Educational Studies Association). He is also co-author of To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools. His new book, How Segregation, Race, and Power Have Shaped America’s Most Controversial Education Reform Movement (Boston: Beacon Press, 2021), examines the racist history of school choice.

Marlee Bunch, Ed.D., is an educator with over 17 years teaching experience. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois and two graduate degrees. She holds a teaching certificate, Gifted Education Certification, Diversity and Equity Certificate, and an ESL (English Second Language) Certification. Her experiences teaching at the secondary and post-secondary level, have allowed her to write curriculum, mentor teachers, create workshops, advocate for inclusion & equity, and most importantly support students. Her research, teaching, and educational advocacy work seeks to disrupt inequities, advocate for educational reform and illuminate the power of storytelling and history. Her research focuses on the oral histories of Black female educators. She is the founder of the Unlearning the HUSH teaching framework. You can contact her or learn more at or


3:45pm–4:30pm: What Do Teachers Need? (Group Discussion)

A concluding session to reflect on the day’s discussion and consider what steps are needed moving forward. Educators will network with each other and create actionable items.


4:30pm: Closing Remarks

Yoon Pak, Head and Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Claim your (6) PD hours after the summer academy!

Illinois educators can earn 6 PD hours for attending the TEAACH academy. Participants must visit this link: to the ISBE-required activity evaluation form. This form must be completed in order to receive an Evidence of Completion form for PD hours.

Please complete this evaluation form after attending the Summer Academy. We appreciate your feedback!