The Black History Program Committee at Burton Glen worked to prioritize delivering content to students of all grade levels, in-person and virtual, in an interactive format. “This has been a difficult year for many of our students and their families,” said Nadine Powell, instructional coach at Burton Glen. “We did not want to lose sight of how the many changes this year may be affecting them, so the show was heavily focused on the perspective of students, with encouragement from community leaders.”
The goal of the program was for students to feel empowered to meet challenges as they arise and look forward to a bright future where it is possible to work together with others to solve issues that affect themselves and their communities.
“I am most proud of the students’ engagement, enthusiasm, and adherence to safety protocols when participating in activities,” said Aaron Williams, principal at Burton Glen. “I am also proud of the diversity of student perspectives that were shared across grade levels.”
This program exemplified the Moral Focus virtues Burton Glen teaches every month. Powell explained that teaching children how to persevere and have courage through challenging times while encouraging others, is part of the importance of Black History Month. “It is a celebration of a society that is inclusive of all and the ways we can come together to uplift one another,” she said. “If we teach them their own self-worth and to value other people, they will be exposed to constructive interaction with others leading to the sharing of ideas, perspectives, and building positive relationships. This will create a sense of pride, acceptance, self-confidence, and endless possibilities for our students, who are our leaders of tomorrow.”
The program consisted of daily Black history facts during virtual announcements, virtual field trip days, a “Gallery Walk” with interactive boards in their Moral Focus Hall, spirit week themed dress days, a bulletin board contest, and a virtual Black History Program. Students were excited about recognizing Black history leaders from their own community and being able to dress up for spirit week and be featured in the slide show. All activities were accessible by mobile phone and Chromebook.
“Black History Month is part of American history that has been suppressed during times of great racial strife in our country,” said Powell. “It is important for all students to know that they are valuable members of our society and that they can accomplish their dreams.”
The Black History Program included a welcome introduction by Eric Poole, who is a veteran, entrepreneur, and non-profit volunteer community leader, and words of encouragement from Lawrence Washington, author and motivational speaker.
Students and staff enjoyed the interactive Gallery Walk that featured a Periodic Table of Black History that students could scan QR codes with their phones to learn facts, in addition to the scavenger hunt “Who Am I?” game, which consisted of weekly Black history facts during virtual morning announcements.
The committee is comprised of Mrs. Lindsay Ford, Mrs. Desirae Henry, Mrs. Kaila Breedlove, Ms. Claire Bader, and Ms. Lashema Marble. Powell served as the event coordinator, as well as designed, created, and edited the presentation video.
Mr. Williams provided the closing remarks stating, “I’d like to thank everyone for attending our Black History Program. It is my hope that you got some information out of this program that you did not know prior to. Just remember, February is the month that we celebrate Black History Month, but it’s certainly not the only month of the year that we should be focusing on or remembering the accomplishments and contributions of Black people in America and as a whole. Thank you all, job well done, and let the traditions and the culture continue on.”
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Burton Glen Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Burton, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 99 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.