California Educator

June/July 2021

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Page 41 of 55

M E L I S S A B A L D W I N , a member of West Sacramento Teachers Asso- ciation, teaches women and gender studies (WGS) and English at River City High School in West Sacramento. She created the WGS class in 2018, getting it approved by her department chairs and the school board, and then as an "a-g" course meeting CSU and UC admission requirements. ough exact data is hard to come by, the course is one of just a few WGS classes in California and nationwide. Baldwin taught her inaugural WGS class in the 2019-20 academic year. This fall she has enough students signed up for two 35-student sections — an indication of the interest and need for the course among young people. She is eager to share her experience and help other educators navigate creating similar courses in their schools, so they can help their LGBTQ+ and WGS students feel safe and con- nected on campus. Guest speaker and school principal Brittony Billingslea, center, speaks of her experience of how women must continually prove themselves and be more prepared than men because of perceptions of gender. Setting Course Melissa Baldwin's journey to get women and gender studies on the (school) map 40 Teaching & Learning Melissa Baldwin

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