Author Archives: Valerie Diaz Leroy

Uncivil (Liana Green)

The stories of US History are generally told through the lens of white folks; this is a class about civil war era US history, with a focus on Black folks. Here’s the blurb about the podcast, which was created in 2018:

“Uncivil brings you stories that were left out of the official history of the Civil War, ransacks America’s past, and takes on the history you grew up with. We bring you untold stories about resistance, covert operations, corruption, mutiny, counterfeiting, antebellum drones, and so much more. And we connect these forgotten struggles to the political battlefield we’re living on right now. The story of the Civil War — the story of slavery, confederate monuments, racism — is the story of America.”

Mature themes in that the life and times of enslaved people (and free Blacks) were harsh. Plus war, and a few (minor) swears.


For each class session, you’ll research and define a few relevant concepts/vocabulary words before listening to a 20-30 minute podcast. After listening, you’ll answer a few short reflection questions about what you heard and submit a Google doc that includes evidence of your vocabulary research as well as your reflection piece.

This is a version of an asynchronous class: I’ll provide assignments and you’ll do your work and submit it all via Classroom, but we’ll all set aside the same time on the schedule each week to do the work. I’ll be available during that slot to answer any questions and be a resource via Zoom/Slack. I reserve the right to gather us via Zoom occasionally if it feels like we could benefit from that.

Required texts/materials: Uncivil Podcast Students will be responsible for obtaining their own texts/materials. Materials should be procured by: Download Uncivil podcast episodes before the first class meeting

8th / 9th Grade Seminar

8th Graders will focus on the questions Who am I? How do I move through the world?

9th Graders will model the work learned in previous seminars as they take on leadership roles and the start of post-high school planning.

10th Grade Seminar

10th Graders will explore the question How am I connected to things greater than myself?

Hindi Language and Culture

This class is an introduction to Hindi language and South Asian culture. Wasfee will be back to teach another year of Hindi!

Mandarin Chinese (Kathy and Jeremy)

Chinese is the most common language on the Internet.  Heck, Chinese is the most common language, period.  Mandarin is the most widely spoken version of Chinese, with the number of Mandarin speakers being almost equal to the next three most widely spoken languages combined (Spanish, English, and Hindi).

With all those people speaking Chinese, it makes sense to learn a little.  Chinese can be a very challenging language, but it’s one where even a little can be impressive.  We will focus on some very practical words and phrases so that you can actually use what you learn.  We’ll learn some polite words like “please” and “thank you,” some learning phrases like “What does that mean in English?”, and some food words so maybe you can impress your family the next time you go to a Chinese restaurant.

We will not learn to read and write characters for a couple of reasons: unlike an alphabet, you can’t tell how a word is pronounced by looking at the character (and you may only be able to guess at the meaning), they’re terribly complicated, and I don’t read very well myself.

The homework will involve practicing what we cover in class in various ways.

Fluoride (Brandon Bermudez)

A continuation of the beginner band.

Here for the Aesthetics (Cherrise Smith)

This class will look at ALL things aesthetics! Fashion, interior/exterior design, nature, culture and all the varieties of art expression. This is a place for us to express our vibes, learn about others, appreciate art in all its varieties, and have fun!

True Crime Psychology (Cherrise Smith)

Join us as we take a deep dive into some of the most complex true crime cases to ever exist. What happened? Who did it? And most importantly why? In this class we will focus on the pathology behind those who have committed horrendous crimes. Discussing antisocial personality disorder, narcissist, sociopaths, psychopaths from a scientifically informed perspective. It’s about the crimes committed, the science, and the psychology.

All Things Mental Health (Cherrise Smith)

What are the factors that contribute to our mental health?

How did we end up in a mental health epidemic?

Where do we go from here?

These are just some of the many questions we will be diving into and dissecting together. We will be listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, reading articles and sharing our thought and opinions on all things related to mental health!

Ornithology & Local Bird Appreciation (Lucy)

Can you identify every species of bird in Washington State just by their call? Neither can Lucy, but she wants to someday!

Join Lucy to learn more about our local birds, including how to identify them, how they are impacted by our urban environment, the history and politics of ornithology, and more!

This class will be a mix of indoor and outdoor learning. Indoors, Lucy will share what she’s learned from her participation with UW’s Bird Friendly Campus project, and from her individual hobby research. Outdoors, we’ll learn how to ID some birds! Outside of class time, you can expect to read 1-2 articles per week (~5-10 pages) so we can talk about it during class 🙂

Whether you already know a lot about birds or nothing at all, this class is open to all students who appreciate our lovely feathered friends!