Activate Change makers

Power-Building Academy Curriculum


“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people—they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”

Paulo Freire


“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.”

Saul Alinsky

We take inspiration from these influential schools of thought.

Power-Building Academy Goals

  1. Develop new leaders who commit to long-term organizing to create policy and systems change.

  2. Design responsive and results-based policy solutions.

  3. Achieve [education] policy changes that work to decrease racial disparities.

  4. Increase voter turnout in targeted areas where turnout is low, but there could be huge impact.

Key Organizing Skills

  • Organizing Cycle

  • Self-Interest

  • Public Narrative/Storytelling

  • One-on-Ones

  • Power-Mapping

  • Campaign Strategy Development

Key Approaches to Power-Building Academy Experiences

  1. Create space for healing

  2. Leverage narratives and stories to facilitate and foster learning

  3. Create opportunities for reflection on content and experiences through pre-session and post-session work

  4. Facilitate hands-on, interactive, and dialogical experiences vs. talk/teach to Power-Builders

  5. Provide opportunities to engage with and learn from established organizers

  6. Consider and facilitate with attention to different learning and processing styles

  7. Create opportunities for Power-Builders to learn by seeing the systems and work in action and doing/applying their organizing skills to real campaigns

Key [Education] System Analysis

  • Data

  • Funding

  • School & System Leaders

  • Non-Academics (i.e.Well-Being, Environment)

  • Curriculum – Math & Reading

  • History of Policies


  • We believe in a co-facilitation model where two people facilitate each session together

  • We believe facilitators should meet some of the following criteria:

    • Have experience facilitating group discussions, learnings, and action

    • Have experience as a community organizer

    • Have experience with policy research and development

    • Have worked intimately with Black and Latinx communities


  • Power-Builders develop organizing skills, an analysis of systemic racism, and an understanding of how the K12 education system works. Power-Builders engage community to surface major ed-issues.

  • Power-Builders will...

    Develop shared language. Develop historical context on the role of race, class, and other forms of (in)equity that have impacted the region, [education], and their own identity development. Begin to develop a relationship with one another. Develop clarity on expectations, logistics, and schedule.

    Power-Builders will...

    Develop an understanding of the purpose, process, and skills of equity-centered and high-impact community organizing. Story of self Individual self-interest and how to discover mutual self-interest. One-on-ones Canvassing Power

    Power-Builders will...

    Develop shared language. Develop an understanding of the history of public education and how our local system is impacted by local, state, and federal policies and practices. Engage in data analysis to understand challenges and assets at the district level. Cut their issue.

  • Power-Builders develop innovative and equitable policy solutions and a campaign strategy to bring about those policy solutions.

  • Power-Builders will...

    Learn the role of communications and storytelling to effect change. Develop a campaign messaging and visuals plan. Finalize their policy solutions based on the issue cut. Learn how and complete a power analysis. Learn how and complete a campaign strategy chart.

  • Power-Builders disrupt current systemic educational inequities by implementing their campaign strategy to achieve tangible policy change(s).

  • Power-Builders will...

    Lead a campaign. Lead 2+ actions with 50+ attendees. Increase voter turnout by 3%.