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Education Updates and Features

“JUST US: Because It’s Time” Curriculum Introduced

Saturday, September 04, 2021

The UNCW Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of the Arts have introduced a new interdisciplinary curriculum for middle school students that uses art integration to help students develop resiliency skills: JUST US: Because It’s Time.

The JUST US Project teaches children what to do when feeling stressed or in times of trouble. This interdisciplinary unit connects the Community Resiliency Model with a sculpture created by Dare Coulter that showcases the resiliency of the Black residents in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Participants will learn the following:

  • How to understand and monitor their bodies when enduring stress and how to learn resilience in difficult times.
  • Learn about art as a way of expressing one's feelings and telling stories. Students are exposed to historical and contemporary art and artists.
  • Learn about cultural and historical events highlighted of Dare Coulter's sculpture entitled "Because It's Time."
  • Create their own art piece showcasing participants' own resilience and expressing what resilience means to them personally.
  • Tell their own story of resilience by explaining their art piece.

Each lesson is paired with the accompanying North Carolina State Standards for 7th Grade in social-emotional learning, art, social studies and language arts.

WCE Professor Janna Robertson wrote the curriculum with WCE students Schala Harper and Kia Thompson as well as artist, Dare Coulter.  

The curriculum was piloted in six sites with over 80 students during the 2019-20 school year. D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, Brigade Boys and Girls Club, DREAMS of Wilmington, GLOW Academy, Myrtle Grove Middle School and Trask Middle School participated in the pilot program. Local partners in addition to Robertson and the six pilot locations include the Harrelson Center, the CAM, the New Hanover County Resiliency Task Force, the UNCW Restorative Justice Collaboration, Girls Rocking It in the South, Turning the Wheel and Working Narratives. 

The full curriculum is available on the JUST US: Because It’s Time website.

Related UNCW Stories about the JUST US Project

UNCW Home Page Story, March 25: UNCW Partners with Community Groups for “JUST US” Program Connecting Arts and Resiliency

Watson Chronicle, March 2021: “JUST US” Program Connects Arts and Resiliency