Neema Avashia

35 minutes

Neema Avashia, a Civics teacher in the Boston Public Schools, joins Justin Reich to discuss the power of bringing real-world challenges into the classroom. We hear how Neema and her students rallied the community to challenge the closing of their school, McCormack Middle in Dorchester, and won. Neema speaks to the importance of empowering students to express themselves, and shares some of her best classroom moves.

  • Neema’s Personal and Teaching Background
  • Bringing complex issues into the classroom
    • Using student choice as entry points
    • “Jeremiah Option”
  • Identity in the classroom
  • Addressing conflicts in difficult civic conversations
  • Restorative Practices
  • Threat to Close the the McCormack Middle School
    • Using civics to address the real problem
    • Students expressing their motivation and talents
  • Balancing activism and curriculum
  • Connecting with students and the community


About Our Guest: Neema Avashia

Neema Avashia has been a Civics teacher in the Boston Public Schools, since 2003, and was recognized as city wide Educator of the Year in 2013. A graduate from Carnegie Mellon in 2001, Avashia has written and performed for The Moth Story Slam, and has become a powerful voice on WBUR’s Cognoscenti, where she has published work about the urgent issues of our time, including, “My Parents May Be Acceptable Immigrants, But None of Us Is Safe” which looks at a violent crime against an immigrant in the midwest, and “Newton North High School: Talking To Students When A Symbol Of Racial Hatred Is Unfurled Close To Home” She has also published work in The Aerogram, and in Eat, Darling, Eat. When not working on essays about inequity in education and racism, Avashia writes about the complexity of growing up Indian in West Virginia.


Additional Resources for Teachers and other Listeners - Check out Neema’s published writing - The latest news on the McCormack Middle School




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Produced by Aimee Corrigan and Garrett Beazley

Edited by Kate Ellis

Recorded by Garrett Beazley

Mixed by Corey Schreppel

Filmed by Denez McAdoo


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