Each school day in February students were given a different leader to learn about, then they affixed that person’s picture to their shirt to serve as a conversation starter with others. Teachers and staff were given a heads-up to ask these students questions.
Included in the list of leaders are Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Jesse Owens, Coretta Scott King, Condoleezza Rice, Neil deGrasse Tyson and more.
This is the third year Cruz has presented this project to her students, but the first time with 2nd graders.
“I came up with the idea because I noticed most students only really knew about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks,” Cruz said. “I found this was a way to expose them to more and they love learning about them.”
Cruz said her class was able to grasp the challenges many of the Black leaders faced and were excited when they showed up in class each morning, anticipating which person they got to learn about next.
“They are in 2nd grade, but they understand the different between right and wrong, fair and unfair,” Cruz said. “They are shocked to learn people were treated in such a way and are so happy to learn that their person achieved greatness despite the obstacles they faced.”
Summerfield Charter Academy is part of National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. with over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
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