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Herstory Across the Curriculum

How to Use This Curriculum
Read this first

Chapter I:
Preparing to Do the Work

Chapter II: Let the Workshop Begin

Chapter III: Stories in Evolution

Chapter IV: The Light on the Opposite Shore

Chapter V: Herstory Across the Curriculum

Chapter VI: Counselors Corner


Chapter V, Part A

The Math in Our  Stories 

An Experiment in Cross-Disciplinary Learning

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 


A Journey Into Combining Memoir Writing for Justice and Mathematical Thinking 

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Personal Introduction by Herstory Facilitator Jeremy Guale

Uniondale Newcomers Academy, Summer 2023

Herstory has always been an organization that pushes the boundaries of learning. Therefore, it’s no surprise that I was asked to do something that really hasn’t been explored. 






The example I love to use goes as follows: In the 50 State Supreme Court system, only 18% of judges are of color, while people of color make up over 40% of the population. So, if I wanted to be a Supreme Court judge, it seems like my chances are low. However, how does that change because I'm a male?


Over 59% of judges are male. How does it change if I am

The “I am not a statistic” initiative was put in place to use the power of statistics by shedding light on the numbers that are often associated with certain communities.


a STEM graduate? These numbers are so dynamic, chaotic, and changing.



This program is founded on these principles and must be translated to a young group of students. The task is not small because we must understand the classroom foundations. Hence, the program is not only here to provide a foundation on how to analyze statistics, but also how to apply it to the story they want to tell. 

While they do hold truth, they don’t hold personal truths. We wanted to find a means by which people can escape the confines of their “number” or statistics that don’t define who we are as people. While it may be true that I am a part of a certain group, I am not a statistic. 


The first question we ask, in whatever situation we are walking into, is what are we working with?

In this case, we started off by asking who our students are and how much they really know about statistics. 

We were told that we were going to oversee the math section in the Newcomers program at Uniondale High School during the duration of the summer. This was a little bit nerve-wracking and stressful because the reality was, we did not know what we were going to teach, in what language, and how we even go about it. 

The beautiful part about Herstory is that it is divided into moments. 


The first thing above everything else is to create trust. It’s summer school, who really wants to be there? 

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These kids for the most part are forced to go and while it is our job to be there, we must make them want to be there. Moreover, we have to make them feel like we are there not only for them but with them.


We have to be understanding of our demographic. The kids are first-generation students who have arrived in the country within the last two years. Most, if not any of them do not speak English. This doesn’t mean an automatic transition to Spanish. In some of our groups, half of our class speaks Creole.

Furthermore, we must consider not only a language barrier but an education barrier in the form of each student having a different educational path. 

So, Let the Workshop Begin

Please note that we are not combining our math work and the storytelling work right away. Belinda Castiblanco, whom you will see in this video, is using half the time to work with the students on their Page One Moments and other Herstory techniques. Jeremy Guale is present to support Belinda's work and to get to know the students who are working with him on the math. During alternate times, Jeremy is helping the students to feel trust and comfort, and even joy, with the mathematics while Belinda plays a supportive role. It is important to have both facilitators together, even though right now the study of the disciplines isn't combined. (In this case, since we were working in four different languages: Spanish, French, Hatian/Creole, and English, the other member of our team was a French teacher from Haiti who played an integral role in the mathematics.) 


It will take another few weeks of working in this way for Belinda and Jeremy to begin to work with the writing and mathematics together as they search for the math in the stories that the students are producing. 

Listen to the way that Belinda and Jeremy describe their collaboration. 

Roadmap and Timeline

There must be a start and end point. How you get there is the tricky part. For us, it was clear we wanted to come out of the program with two things. 

1.  We wanted them to know how to read basic charts, as per NYS 7th and 8th-grade statistical analysis sections in the state test. This includes Bar graphs, Pie Charts, Ordinal, and Cardinal numbers.

2.  Above all, we wanted stories that gave voices to the students. They have a story to tell, so we wanted to provide them with the language to do so.  

Start - Finish

  • The first thing to do is to start with the Herstory Pedagogy, which is to make the students our Stranger Readers. We did this by reading The Mountain by Belinda Castiblanco. 

  • Next, we wanted to create a language that the students could you. Hence, we talked about empathy and sympathy. This allows the students to be more emotionally aware and involved to the stories they hear.

  • Example of a slide goes as follows:


Si bien la empatía se refiere, de manera más general, a nuestra capacidad de tomar perspectiva a sentir las emociones de otra persona.. 

La compasión es cuando esos sentimientos y pensamientos incluyen el deseo de ayudar. 

First Evaluations

Uniondale Newcomers Academy, Summer 2023

We had promised our funders to measure where the students started on an academic level and where they finished. This was something tangible and a challenge that had to be overcome since many of the students had different educational experiences. It was further complicated by the fact that the exam had to be in four languages.

The exam covered what was mentioned before and its application. It was a 55-minute exam and we offered help when needed. 

These were the results.

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Overcoming First Disappointment

With Faith in the Process

  • Honestly, I was a little surprised about the score. The average was 21%. 

  • I opted for a Pareto chart to see the 80/20 rule and see where we can improve.

  • In 21 days since that evaluation, in what real way can we improve? 

  • What structure do we actually put in place?


"In all reality I was upset. As someone who was a statistic to the school system. We had limited access to education. My school in particular mirrors the Uniondale school system."

Little did any of us know...

We invite you to preview what we would be able to accomplish in the next twenty one days as we continue to tell you our story.  

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HerStory Evaluation Final Uniondale Math.jpg

More coming soon!

Stay tuned for the rest of Jeremy's story.

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