CCHA Celebrates Black History Month

POST DATE: 2.24.21
Ccha  General

CCHA is proud to represent school districts across the state and country with the largest School + Education Law practice group in Indiana. As the month comes to a close, CCHA is proud to highlight two schools in the communities we serve that went above and beyond to recognize Black History Month during the month of February. Students are our bridge to the future, and the young, impressionable minds in our school systems are capable of so much good; good we’ve seen put into action during the entire month, in creative, meaningful ways.

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Hamilton Heights School Corporation

Hamilton Heights Middle School engaged all 16 of their homeroom classes of 7th and 8th graders in an MLK Jr. quote activity. Students were guided through a Powerpoint presentation, then asked to reflect on and analyze their favorite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. Some wrote their favorite quote in calligraphy, others in acrostic poems. Many students did all three activities.

In art class, students used the grid method to draw portraits of Dr. King. There were three different poses from which to choose and three different drawing techniques. Students also celebrated contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley this quarter. Wiley’s artwork has been on display on the art room birthday board all month. Classes started a project inspired by his art style on his birthday. To further recognize the moment, the Social Studies hallway currently features Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait drawings and quotes.

CCHA Black History Month Hamilton Heights School Corporation

Finally, Mr. Beechler's Husky Broadcast News Class created amazing Black History Month videos, all of which can be viewed on the Husky Broadcasting Network YouTube channel. Students were tasked with creating videos that would either Inspire, Inform, Unify, or Entertain. When asked to reflect on the experience, one student named Emma said:

“I think that Black History Month is important to celebrate because there are so many amazing people that don’t usually get the appreciation that they deserve, and this month is a way to celebrate all of them. While I was researching for my video I didn’t really know much about the people I had chosen, but the more and more I looked I found tons of amazing and mind blowing things that they did. There are some African Americans that have made huge impacts in the world, but barely ever get mentioned and many people don’t even know who they are. This month reminds all of us that we need to recognize these people not only this month, but every day of the year and celebrate all of the amazing things they have done.”

The videos were created as a way to start discussions around the number of famous Black Americans students and youth have never been introduced to, and suggest ways to help start recognizing those who haven’t gotten their deserved credit.

MSD of Wayne Township

MSD of Wayne Township is also taking valiant efforts to fight systemic racism. For the past thirty eight years, MSD of Wayne Township has honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his legacy, by hosting an annual contest during Black History Month. Because of the lingering challenges of COVID-19 and a renewed desire to dismantle systemic racism and the lingering acts of oppression, this year, the district decided to step outside of the box and engaged students, staff, and community members in recognizing that Black History is Our History. In an all-hands-on-deck effort, led by Dr. Pam Hardy and Ms. Aretha Britton, two elementary principals and equity team members, initiated a shared oral reading of “Finding Langston”, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book written by African-American author, Lesa Cline-Ransome.

CCHA Black History Month

Twenty Black educators were assigned a chapter and asked to create a shared literary experience by recording themselves reading to students Pre K- 6th grade. At the end of each chapter, students were asked to connect that particular chapter to their lived experiences. Wayne Township Preschool and all 11 elementary schools participated; the schools even hosted a virtual author visit where all students and staff were able to actively engage with the author.

Beyond that, MSD of Wayne Township has their online community, known as Wayne Equity, which is an ongoing effort outside of just Black History Month, and a special population community circle dedicated to the broader topic of Equity.

CCHA Black History Month 2

During Black History Month, Wayne Equity presented the Voices of Black Educators 2021 Series in an effort to expose MSD of Wayne Township’s students to their yearly Black History Month celebration during COVID 19 in-person restrictions. Every day students, grades PreK-12, had the opportunity to watch a recording of a Black Educator share their personal journey into education, as well as the story of an African-American individual who made a difference in their life and the lives of others. Many of the prominent African-Americans shared with our students and staff are still alive today and continue to make a tremendous impact in our nation.

Staff members were encouraged to share their videos to social media using the hashtag #wearewayne, so community members could learn alongside the district. The conclusion of the series was a panel discussion with Black educators who shared their experience of what it means to be an educator in today’s society.

CCHA is proud of the important, never-more-timely work these students and schools are participating in during Black History Month and are inspired by their spirits and moved by their dedication to celebrate the amazing contributions made by some amazing, inspiring individuals who came before them.