February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate the countless contributions made by Black Americans throughout history. From everyday objects like clothes dryers and lawn sprinklers to medical wonders like a heart pacemaker, our stories and our futures are stronger because of the diverse individuals who make up our communities.
At Woodhaven-Brownstown School District (WBSD), we celebrate the diversity and many cultures our students share because we know it makes us a stronger, more unified school community. Whether it is ethnic diversity, ability, socio-economic status or gender, it is important that students learn to better understand the world around them.
During Black History Month, WBSD middle and high school students will participate in learning activities exploring the art, history, and accomplishments of Black Americans. History classes study biographies of African-American poets from the 1930s, while English students read plays by black authors from the Roaring Twenties and Harlem Renaissance.
Elementary students will also be immersed in the celebration of Black History Month through month-long activities. Classrooms will read fiction and non-fiction materials through independent time and read-aloud. Additionally, students will view and create traditional black art projects, listen to music by black musicians, and learn about historical figures who have influenced media and fitness.
We encourage all students to continue learning outside of the classroom by exploring the Black History Month activities and events taking place in the Detroit metro area this month. The Henry Ford Museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) both have limited-time exhibits to visit. The DIA is even hosting two special Zoom events for kids to celebrate black history represented through photography.
The Downriver community is a melting pot of cultures. Encouraging all families to celebrate diversity and learn more about the history and challenges faced by Black Americans will instill a sense of community and respect for others.
Part of celebrating diversity is also recognizing that not all students have the same needs or have access to the same resources. Creating equitable opportunities in our classrooms means ensuring that each student is equipped with the individual tools and resources they need to graduate and succeed as adults. By recognizing that no two students come from the same background, we as educators can better tailor the learning experience to meet the needs of each student.
In February and beyond, please join us in celebrating and recognizing the incredible contributions that black men and women have made throughout our country’s history.
Mark Greathead is the superintendent of the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District.