In last week’s district newsletter, we shared some of the programs and events held at our early childhood and elementary schools in honor of Black History Month.Click here to see that article.
Our secondary schools also partake in a variety of events, as illustrated by the highlights below.
Plains Junior shared lots of historical facts each morning during announcements while Hopewell Junior held weekly contests, focusing on famous African Americans throughout history. Students were able to find answers posted around the school and learned more about the figures achievements each morning during school announcements.
Liberty Junior’s seventh grade Social Studies classes learned about Nelson Mandela and the historical issue of Apartheid while the eighth grade Social Studies classes studied the Constitution’s 13th and 15th Amendments. The eighth-graders also studied the important and heroic role of the Tuskegee airmen during WWII.
At Ridge Junior, the school’s Media Center has been celebrating Black History Month with a number of displays in the library featuring the accomplishments of African-Americans. Displays range from biographies, autobiographies, and works by African-American authors. And Ridge continued the school’s annual tradition: running a slide show of inspirational quotes by famous African-Americans in the fields of politics, education, athletics, and other professional endeavors are posted throughout the month on the school cafe’s TV.
Lakota East Freshman observed the month through several innovative projects. English classes at Lakota East Freshman readTo Kill A Mockingbird
, which was set in the Jim Crow South. Most classes did a research project before starting the novel about the Jim Crow Era, focusing on all of the changes that occurred between the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights movement. English/Connections classes are also doing an online project on IWitness.usc.edu (digital literacy). These students viewed interviews with Holocaust survivors and videos of people who participated in the American Civil Rights movement, then each wrote a poem of advice to their future self, inspired by the video interviews and testimonies. The final component of the project was a “Galley Walk” that featured the original poems and encouraged other students to comment. Several career speakers of different ethnicities met with the Connections class, sharing their personal experiences about career opportunities.
Lakota West High took a unique approach with their announcements and Tweets, focusing on lesser-known yet still key African-Americans such as Benjamin Banneker, Madam CJ Walker and others. While not specific to Black History Month, Lakota West has an ongoing mentorship program, coordinated by Principal Elgin Card, in which several African American male high school students are partnering with African American students at Shawnee Elementary.
During the school’s “Be the Difference Day,” students at Lakota East were encouraged to use their personal narrative to break down barriers as they gained a better respect for their peers. Students openly and honestly engaged in dialogue regarding racism they see and experience on a daily basis. Students in English classes wrote essays capturing their perspective of the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech, using their personal experiences to relate to the speech. Writings were shared with peers and students discussed the challenges related to race that they face in 2016.