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    Celebrating Black History Month at Seattle Public Schools
    Posted on 02/28/2020
    A group of students sit together on a stage for a panel discussion

    Celebrating Black History Month at Seattle Public Schools

    This month, Seattle Public Schools celebrated Black History Month. These celebrations across the district honored the culture, legacy, and achievement of African Americans, and celebrated the Black Excellence inherent in our teachers, staff, and students.

    Seattle Public Schools is committed to celebrating the excellence of our Black students every day. Guided by our strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, we are working to create a system that that supports our students’ inherent excellence and ensures students of color furthest away from educational justice thrive, beginning with African American boys and young men. Learn more about Seattle Excellence.

    This month offers the opportunity to reinforce this commitment to our students, educators, and community, including the celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives Matter at School Week, and National African American Parent Involvement Day. Thank you to the staff, students, schools, and community partners who helped plan the events, celebrations, discussions, and curriculum throughout Black History Month.

    Black Lives Matter at School Week

    In January, the Seattle School Board unanimously adopted a resolution to declare that the lives of Black students matter and to encourage districtwide participation in the national Black Lives Matter at School Week movement from February 3–7, 2020. This annual resolution affirms the Seattle School Board’s commitment to racial justice and recognition that the lives and lived experiences of our Black youth matter, not just during Black History Month, but every single day. Read more about the board resolution.

    Schools across the district incorporated Black Lives Matter at School curriculum into daily lessons and hosted events celebrating and affirming the lives of our students. At Rainier Beach High School, students hosted the Young, Gifted, and Black Showcase with amazing student performances, panels, and discussions.

    Three students dance on stage during a school assembly

    At Denny International Middle School, educators, administrators, and students were fully engaged in learning about Black history and Black Excellence. In every classroom at Denny, student participated in this important work to talk about Black Lives Matter and how we can move forward as a school, system, as a society, and as a country to respect and love Black lives. Read more about Black Lives Matter in School Week at Denny.

    Thank you to the Ethnic Studies Advisory Group, the Seattle Education Association, and all the staff, educators, administrators, students, and families who put their hearts into this important work. We look forward to seeing the Black Lives Matter at School Week continue to thrive and expand throughout the district for years to come.

    Pan-African Flag Raising and Events at the John Stanford Center

    At the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, the Black History Month planning team in partnership with the JSCEE Climate and Culture Committee carried out a series of celebratory and educational events for staff. To kick off the month’s events, the Seattle Public Schools central office gathered together to raise the Pan-African flag on February 3 for the first time at the district office.

    Later in the month, central office staff were able to visit the “Unspoken Truths” American History Traveling Museum, which chronicles the rich history of Africans prior to American Chattel Slavery, the experiences and impact of American Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow Era, and the many contributions African Americans have had on scientific, cultural, and technological inventions and innovations in the U.S. and the world.

    Other central office events included Rhythms of Blackness: Our Lives through Music on February 12 and a panel on February 27, which featured discussions with students and adults about contemporary issues impacting education and life.

    A group of people stand together with a banner with the text "Black Excellence: At it's very best. The more you know of your history the more liberated you are" Maya Angelou

    These events were initiated and planned by Black staff with support from the JSCEE Climate and Culture Committee. Thank you to Anita Koyier-Mwamba and the Black History Month planning team for planning these powerful, educational experiences.

    National African American Parent Involvement Day

    National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) is a day for parents to join their students at school to strengthen community-school relationships and create a warm, welcoming environment for our students in partnership with families.

    Families and community members at South Shore PreK-8 participated in a day-long program that engages students and attendees to strengthen school-family-community partnerships to advance student success on February 10. Students started the day with high fives from families and community members.

    We’re thankful to partner with families every day in support of Seattle students, and to be able to celebrate that partnership during NAAPID.