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Understanding African American Students, EDL 900

Instructors: Jenny Loeck & Portia McClain

Topics: Instructional Strategies, Classroom Management & Administrative/Leadership
Audiences: Specialist/Counselors & Pre K-12

This course explores the myriad of racially discriminatory practices in schools today, focusing on the pivotal experiences that either promote or hinder the success of students of color. Topics addressed include common challenges faced by students of color in education, the effect of the No Child Left Behind Act on minority students, and the importance of multicultural education. Modules included are: 4005 Students of Color: Pivotal Ed Experiences, 4012 Understanding African American Vernacular English, and 4018 Influence of Slavery and Oppression on African American Students in Today's Schools.

One-credit course expectations:

The learner's participation for one credit will be verified by:

  1. Completing the two categories of written assignments.
    1. At the end of each layer the learner will submit a few well written but concise remarks to address the layer's content.
    2. A one page summary reflection that is written upon completion of all of the modules incorporated in the selected UND course. End of Course Reflective Statement Requirements are provided. The final reflection must be sent as an attachment to the instructor of record at
  2. Checking the time stamp in the module indicating the amount of time the student spent studying the contents of the module.

Two-credit course expectations:

  1. The learner must complete one or more Authentic Practice Sets completing a minimum of 15 hours of additional work, beyond the requirements for the first credit, for a total of at least 30 hours for two credits.
    1. The additional 15 additional hours is focused on preparation of a portfolio exhibit that documents the design, implementation, and appraisal of an Authentic Practice Set applied to the content of the course.

Please refer to the Course at a Glance document below for more course information (requirements, grading, etc.)

PLEASE NOTE: Upon receipt and confirmation of your course registration with UND, it may take 3-8 days for you to receive a welcome e-mail from your course provider giving you access to this online course.

Individuals with active full subscriptions to Whitewater Learning® will receive a discount on UND Whitewater Learning professional development course tuition by contacting to request a special discount URL.

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This course has grading options. Please select the course with the grading of your choice.


This course has credit options. Please select the course with the credits of your choice.

Online Course - 1 credit S/U grading
Enroll Anytime
Professional Development Credit: 1 - S/U grading
UND Fee: $145
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Online Course - 1 credit Letter grading
Enroll Anytime
Professional Development Credit: 1 - Letter grading
UND Fee: $145
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Online Course - 2 credit S/U grading
Enroll Anytime
Professional Development Credit: 2 - S/U grading
UND Fee: $280
quick details

Online Course - 2 credit Letter grading
Enroll Anytime
Professional Development Credit: 2 - Letter grading
UND Fee: $280
quick details

About Your Instructors

Jenny Loeck Jenny Loeck

Dr. Jenny Loeck is a high school principal. Her journey to that leadership role included teaching physical education and health, activities director, and assistant principal. She earned her doctorate degree in 2013. Loeck's dissertation focused on the pivotal high school experiences of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) graduates.

Loeck is a committed and tireless advocate for student equity and access. This learning module is based on her review of literature and addresses how she turned her graduate work into a systemic change in school practice. Loeck has embraced student input as a valued leverage point in school decision-making, including instructional professional development.

Portia McClain Portia McClain

Portia serves as a consultant on reducing bias and improving understanding and relationships between the majority and African American populations. Her clients have included educators and law enforcement personnel among other professional groups.

Portia McClain was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but lived for a period of time in Mississippi, a state centered in the deep south of the United States. Though it is true that slavery officially ended on December 6, 1865, when the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States, providing that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction," she was raised by her mother and two grandmothers who experienced remnants of the end of slavery, both centenarians at their deaths.

Portia moved to Minneapolis in October 1985 and attended school at the University of Minnesota where she continues her graduate studies toward a doctorate in Education. The topic of her doctoral dissertation is language and culture and how they play a role in assessment of children of color in special education.

She has worked as an Equity Specialist in a suburban school district and as an adjunct professor at Concordia University, teaching a Masters level course titled Diversity in Education.

Prior to working in suburban high schools, she worked in the Minneapolis public schools, teaching kindergarten, and as the Testing and Curriculum Coordinator. She has also worked with others on the 1998 version of the Minnesota Department of Education's publication titled, Reducing Bias in Special Education and its 2014 update.

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