Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Civics with Dean – Class 4 – Dred Scott Case

On October 13, my Civics class at Big Fish Learning participated in an exclusive Zoom call with Lynne M. Jackson, the great-great-granddaughter of Harriet and Dred Scott of the 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott Decision. 

The focus of the class was a post-discussion of the Constitution and Black History, examining how the laws of the United States, starting with the Constitution itself, have impacted the history of black Americans. We covered important legal cases besides Dred Scott, like Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Ed. We explored how we've moved toward a more inclusive nation that strives to live up to the words Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence, "…all men (people!) are created equal" and accord all equal protection of the law. Lynne shared some interesting insights and talked about the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation in today’s world. She reminded us that there were real people behind the famous case, and that history isn't quite as far away as we often think. (Her father was babysat by Dred and Harriet's daughter, Lizzie.) 

Special dignitaries joined us:  NH Department of Education Commissioner, Frank Edleblut. In addition, US Senator Jeanne Shaheen sent a letter to the class as she was unable to be there in person.

Dean Graziano is the Vice-President of He is a multi-state, award-winning educator and former Curriculum Specialist Teacher grades 6-12 Social Studies, with over 25 years in education. He served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and also selected by the College Board to be an Advanced Placement Reader for U.S. History. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data base company. 

In 2007, in a surprise visit to his school, he was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. Dean was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator- of -the Year. Dean’s pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by NH Governor, Chris Sununu as the model for the State of N.H. Career Academies. In 2019, he developed and implemented a proposal to purchase a Mobile Classroom ( a new & remodeled 36’ RV, aka M.A.P.s) utilizing Perkins V funding, to bring CTE/WBL programming - leveling the playing field/equity for ALL NH students and spoke nationally at several ACTE Conferences on this model.