This unit was created by CeCe Ogunshakin, a 7th and 8th grade Social Studies teacher at School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens in Washington, D.C., as part of the 2022-2023 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across six 90-minute class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


Students will be able to...

  • Analyze local data that captures school achievement
  • Practice interview skills to learn more about the range of beliefs and impacts of the D.C. lottery program
  • Craft rigorous questions to support their research projects 
  • Evaluate if biases can be dismantled
  • Analyze how systemic issues are interconnected
  • Reflect on their personal and family values might affect the high school application process

Unit Overview:

What systemic factors drive school segregation?

Do school lottery programs segregate or integrate school systems?

How does school segregation impact the community?

In this unit, students analyze the relationship between race, wealth, and access by connecting the issue of school segregation in Denmark to the school lottery program in their local community, the District of Columbia.

Students begin by analyzing the impact of school segregation in Denmark and discuss the cultural and social impact it has on the communities born in Denmark and the communities that migrated or immigrated there. Students make personal connections to the students being most impacted by the issue by noticing how the factors that drive segregation in Denmark also determine access to education in D.C. through the lottery program.

Then, students analyze local school data and interview their own community to learn more about the school lottery process and program. Finally, students synthesize their research by creating visual presentations that argue if school lottery programs integrate or segregate school systems.

Performance Task:

Students investigate the impact of the lottery program in D.C. by examining data and interviewing community members. Students will then synthesize their investigation by creating visual presentations that argue whether school lottery programs integrate or segregate school systems.

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