Alumni

April 12, 2021 at 5:23 pm

Alumni News | Shoemaker DeMio, Alumni Develop Inclusive U.S. History Curriculum

Paige Shoemaker DeMio, portrait

Paige Shoemaker DeMio, P.U.U.S.H Founder

An extraordinary aspect of being a Bobcat is that even when Bobcats leave Athens, they take countless pieces of their Ohio University education with them.

This is certainly the case for Paige Shoemaker DeMio, who graduated in 2017 double majoring in Political Science Pre-Law and Sociology-Criminology with a certificate in Law, Justice & Culture.

At OHIO, she spent four years learning how to be an advocate, ally, and leader in Bentley Hall. While she has now moved on to leading her own classroom in the Cleveland school district, she never stopped striving to lift up others and problem solve.

Shoemaker DeMio describes her time at Ohio University as formative, and specifically credits the relationships she built within Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity in which she served as president, to be particularly meaningful. In Phi Alpha Delta, or PAD, she found a community of people that wanted to support vulnerable populations and to work to change oppressive systems.  She kept in contact with his community after she graduated and decided to work for Teach for America, a nonprofit devoted to educational equity and excellence.

Teach for America took her to a diverse high school in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District where she began teaching United States history. But over the course of her teaching, she began to realize that the history she was tasked to teach was incomplete. Moreover, she soon became frustrated by what she saw as the many holes in the history curriculum as well as how the exclusion of material was impacting her students of color.

This disparity was only illuminated by the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred after a series of violent incidents involving police officers. Shoemaker DeMio began asking herself what she could do in her own life to amplify Black voices.

She made the decision to make change in an obvious place—her classroom. She decided she wanted to create a holistic United States history curriculum, not only for her own classroom but for others as well.

PUUSH Logo

After the initial idea, her first step was to reach out to her social media network. There, she invited her friends to engage to help develop ideas for the new curriculum. To her excitement and surprise, seven OHIO alumni responded and said they wanted to help—Amal Afyouni, Molly Butler, Jake DeMio, Jane Dulaney, Abbey Koehl, Nicole Morino, and Logan Stark. Nearly all of these Bobcats were fellow members of Phi Alpha Delta, and all of them shared her passion for advocacy and allyship.

This alumni team began working together to create a new educational movement called People’s Unfiltered United States History, or P.U.U.S.H. This curriculum includes all the history mandated by the state of Ohio, but also equally highlights the experiences of people of color. Additionally, this curriculum mindfully addresses parts of history that historically have been left out.

Shoemaker DeMio began integrating P.U.U.S.H. into her own classroom during the spring semester of 2020. It is her goal that by integrating a comprehensive view of history, her students could begin to grow to be both politically competent and civically engaged. Additionally, she knows that students are able to engage with curriculum more fully when they can relate the material being taught. As a teacher of predominantly students of color, she provides her students with education that they can identify with and understand.

In addition to teaching P.U.U.S.H. in her classroom, Shoemaker DeMio and her collaborators plan to make the curriculum accessible to all high school history teachers. Ideally, civically motivated educators will embrace P.U.U.S.H. Additionally, the founders also are in the process of petitioning the state of Ohio to mandate a comprehensive and inclusive U.S. history curriculum like theirs.

The project began with ShoeMaker DeMio’s willingness to use her privilege and position to amplify the voices of people of color, and now P.U.U.S.H. holds the potential to change the educational system. ShoeMaker DeMio used her time at Ohio University in Phi Alpha Delta, and what she learned from the coursework in the Law, Justice & Culture Certificate, to create change from the ground upward.

P.U.U.S.H. is continuing to grow and those interested in learning more can learn more Twitter and Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*