North Star sets standard for Black History Month
North Star Elementary is celebrating Black History Month like never before! This school year, we established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Team in response to dehumanizing language used by students. After conducting student Listening Sessions and classroom observations, the team determined next steps including professional development for staff, school-wide Social and Emotional Learning lessons regarding the power of our words, and celebrations of marginalized groups. What we were doing in the past was not enough, we needed all areas of our school to honor and celebrate our community members!
At our January Community Meeting, Principal Dr. Taylor announced our strategic vision of celebrating Black History Month at North Star Elementary. Every classroom teacher is teaching a lesson on the Power of Words, which includes students writing their own “I Am Poems” to celebrate their identities. During the morning announcements every day this month, Mrs. Ceballos and two 5th grade students introduce a Black changemaker. In class, students watch an informational video on that person, read a book and participate in class discussions. All areas of Black History are being celebrated on interactive bulletin boards around the school, including iconic black athletes near the gym, inspirational artists outside of the art room, superheros next to the PEAK room and influential musicians outside of the music classroom. QR codes surround the images on these boards, which lead devices to biographical websites, videos and music clips so community members can learn more.
We are so excited to take on this project and change in our school. We have noticed that this movement has inspired not only our students, but our staff, families, and after school programs. We see that great collaboration among our staff and students to create a welcoming environment that can tackle tough conversations which has opened the door to new possibilities for our understanding of Black History and how we can be changemakers, just like the heroes we are learning about.
This story exemplifies our ELEVATE Focus Area: Diverse Learning. Sharing stories of how students receive engaging learning experiences and the focused-attention they need through appropriate student-to-staff ratios and varied programming.