Throughout February, schools across the district created artwork, read books and completed projects to celebrate African Americans’ many achievements throughout U.S. history.
Black History Month started as Negro History Week in 1926, but the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement helped turn it into a month-long celebration. The Civil Rights Movement was the topic for a project in Jennifer Parrett’s Honors American History class. West freshman students created a Museum Exhibit to educate their peers about the Civil Rights Movement, and a judging panel selected the top projects to be displayed at the school.
“The project helped me understand Civil Rights in depth,” said West freshman Serena Kaladas. “It was nice to compose a project and be able to educate people on such an important event.” She also enjoyed seeing everyone else’s interpretation of the project.
At the West Main Campus, the diversity and inclusion student organization, IDEA, helped head up efforts to celebrate Black History Month. Morning announcements, posters, a spirit week and a Spotify playlist were some of their activities.
Some of the district’s youngest learners at Heritage Early Childhood School created beautiful, heartfelt watercolor paintings to honor Ruby Bridges, the six-year-old who was the first African American to integrate her school. They learned how brave and strong she was, and how she is still supporting diversity in schools.
At Cherokee Elementary, students created morning announcements about famous African Americans and their role in shaping our history. A Cherokee class also created a bulletin board for the school’s hallway that honored famous people and events for Black History Month.
Over at Union Elementary, sixth graders helped create a grid artwork project for their school’s hallways that featured Barack Obama.
Woodland Elementary Instructional Aides Shantelle Oyako, Latoya Hudson and Sharon George teamed up with the Lakota East’s Black Student Union (BSU) group to fill the school’s hallways with displays for Black History Month.
“I chose to reach out to the Black Student Union because it gave us an opportunity to learn about the vision and goals for their organization to increase awareness about not only Black history, but diversity and inclusion as well,” said Oyako. “I am looking forward to our long-term partnership with BSU to help impact the lives of our minority students at Woodland.”
About 20 BSU students helped with the project. The entire team enjoyed the time working together and talking about the value and importance of black history and education.
“Our black students at Woodland love seeing people that look like them in the displays all throughout the school,” said Oyako. “It helps them feel included in history and to be proud of who they are.”