Our mission is to support and empower students, teachers, and communities with the tools to engage with and own their local history of civil rights through inquiry, equity, and civic action.


Free Resources for Educators

You can access our free resources on our Resistance Mapping website which has tools, resources, and local history lessons organized by grade level and location. The portal houses instructional guidance, classroom resources, interactive maps, and other relevant information, functioning as a living, digital archive that documents the history of racist housing, other place-based policies in the Rochester area, and stories of resistance.


Professional Development Offerings

Our team can also deliver the resources and tools to teachers, departments, schools, and leaders. To inquire about professional development for our tools and resources, contact us below.

Professional Development Offerings

We can collaboratively design custom-built professional development experiences for your district or organization.

Here are some examples:

Introduction to Social Emotional Learning (all grade levels)3 hoursFor Teachers and Admin
Social Emotional Learning 2.0 (all grade levels)customizableFor Teachers and Admin
NY CR-S Framework and Teaching Practices
(customizable for all grade levels)
1.5 hourFor Teachers and Admin
Interrupting Harmful Remarks (K-12)1 - 1.5 hourFor All Staff
Introductory Lecture or Film Screening45-90 minutesFor All Staff

"Home: Access Denied" is a short film about the history and legacy of residential segregation in Greater Rochester and the ways ordinary people are participating in civic action to create a more welcoming, just, and inclusive community. The film explores the stories of two families and their lived experiences shaped by the neighborhoods they call home.

About Our Team

Ms. James

Kesha James, MS. Ed, LMFT
Co-Director, Our Local History

Let's meet! Schedule a meeting

Kesha James, MS. Ed, LMFT is an educational leader, consultant, and licensed marriage and family therapist who values authenticity, growth, and justice. She provides individuals and organizations with opportunities to amplify their communication, connection, and confidence so they can make an influential impact on the world.

Kesha has over 15 years of experience working with children and families impacted by trauma and inequitable social policies in the Greater Rochester community. Fueled by a core belief that every person deserves dignity and to be regarded as fully human, Kesha partners with schools, agencies, and organizations to address the issues of systemic racism and provides support in attaining more equitable communities.


Shane Wiegand, MS. Ed
Co-Director, Our Local History

Let's meet! Schedule a meeting

Shane Wiegand is the Co-Director of Our Local History at CCSI. He has over ten years of combined experience as an elementary school teacher and educational consultant. Prior to his work at Our Local History, he was a tenured fourth-grade teacher at the Rush-Henrietta Central School District. He is also a board member at Connected Communities. For his work in the fields of education and equity, he was named to the Rochester Business Journal "Forty Under 40" list in 2021. He and his family live in the Beechwood neighborhood of Rochester.

Donate to the general fund for Our Local History

District Priorities Embedded in Our Resources and PD

  • Standards-Based Learning: Every lesson is aligned to the NY Social Studies Framework (especially SS Practices) and NYS ELA Standards, NY Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework, and NY Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Framework.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching: CR Teaching Tips in each lesson & CR instructional activities modeled, focusing on asset-based approach to teaching and learning as well as cultivating joy
  • SEL: SEL Teaching Tips in each lesson & training on creating a culture and a classroom infused with SEL
  • Restorative Practices: All voices and experiences are honored through deliberate use of restorative practices
  • Local History: Local stories and sources of our community's shared history is the foundation of the project
  • Student-centered Instruction: Students read and interpret the sources to connect the past to the present through active-learning instructional activities