Elevating Voices

Bringing students together through texts written by authors of color to elevate the lived experiences of children of color.


Elevating Voices is a national program designed to “elevate” the voices of historically marginalized people to make their experiences visible and their voices heard.

This year, the program will focus on three culturally relevant books and provide teacher and student-facing content designed to support blended learning.  Students learning remotely will have immediate learning experiences, while teachers develop competencies in crafting culturally responsive literacy instruction that builds on anti-racist practices.

Each text integrates:

  1. ELA and Social Studies with supplemental readings appropriate for three grade bands (5-7, 8-9, 10-12)
  2. Text dependent guiding questions for each chapter and supports for discussion and follow-up writing in response to the readings
  3. Student-facing content that teachers can use and import directly into their learning platform for remote learning which include videos to support student learning and build background knowledge as well as scaffold instruction for students learning English or with differing needs
  4. Classroom-to-classroom networking and a national discussion around race and student experience
  5. Culminating advocacy project with an online celebration of work and discussion with students and leaders from around the country

screenshotElevating Voices provides students with immediate learning experiences at the same time teachers are developing competencies in crafting culturally responsive reading instruction that build on anti-racist practices.

The content spans from elementary to secondary levels and is intended to foster engaging remote instruction and support teachers with blended teaching.  For each text, a set of blended lesson templates are provided to teachers to copy, modify for their students' needs, and use in their learning platform of choice.  These lessons are designed for virtual or blended classrooms and contain interactive content designed to engage students.  

Throughout the reading of the texts, students are encouraged to virtually pen pal with other students participating in the program.

Also, built in, are videos to support student learning and build background knowledge as well as scaffold instruction for students learning English or with differing needs.

raceElevating Voices addresses social issues of race and racism and encourages teachers to build social justice-oriented action into their instruction. It is structured to help teachers have difficult race conversations and use protocols that are both culturally responsive and foster anti-racist education. These discourses are crucial to effectively teaching texts that speak to authentic experiences of children of color.

Teachers are supported throughout the program with self-paced learning and video supports as well as classroom-based resources and tools.  Each lesson's screen-cast  virtually coaches teachers throughout the implementation of this program and a series of five critical webinars are available to attend live (or recorded) on high-leverage instructional practices related to CR-SE:

  • Race Conversations
  • Exploring Racial Identities
  • Intro to Cultivating Racial Literacy
  • Classrooms for Social Justice
  • Pedagogical Practices for Social Justice Classrooms

Each of the three units culminate with students developing and presenting a social-action advocacy project to their peers and partner classrooms. Additionally, Teaching Matters will bring students from around the country together to showcase the diverse student perspectives, celebrate their work and give students an opportunity to meet the authors of each of the books.

Through this project-based book-study and call to action, students will grow in a wide variety of common core reading, writing and social studies standards:


  • RI/RL.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • RI/RL.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • RI/RL.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
  • RI/RL.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • RI/RL.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
  • RI/RL.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
  • RI/RL.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.


  • W.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
  • W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Social Studies standards vary from book to book


Preparing teachers for the blended classroom, Covid learning loss, and remote engagement with culturally responsive competencies that empower teachers to facilitate important conversations about the racial injustices in our country today.

Teaching Matters has a long history of providing high-quality classroom-based coaching. For schools who opt to provide teachers with additional support, a virtual coach will be paired and can work to further develop pedagogical practices in CR-SE, blended learning and ELA/Social Studies. Coaches also act as guides and sounding boards as teachers progress through the webinars, race conversations with their students and the culminating advocacy project.

Join us Fall 2020