That was the question posed to us by the leadership team at the Muhammad Ali Museum and Education Center in Louisville, Kentucky. They wanted to build a character education curriculum that could be used by teachers across the Jefferson County Public School District. We flew out to Kentucky and spent some time at the museum and with friends and family of Muhammad Ali to make sure we could properly create a curriculum that reflected his core values and life lessons. We worked with a cross-sector and cross-city team of educators, evaluators, and youth development professionals to build a robust curriculum called “Creating Our Futures.”
The curriculum had a number of noteworthy features.
- The modularized content allowed instructors to “build” lesson plans that were flexible and customized to the audience, time constraints, and social/political context within the classroom.
- The curriculum unfolded in a cumulative fashion and gradually challenged participants as they moved from level one to level six activities.
- The content used words, phrases, and a variety of material from popular culture to engage youth in a critical examination of current affairs.
- The material was also developed to be easily adapted for online learning platforms.
The curriculum deputed in schools throughout Louisville as part of a pilot launch in 2012. Since then it has reviewed positive reviews.