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Black History Month Comes Alive at Vanguard Charter Academy

National Heritage Academies (NHA) schools celebrated Black History Month with displays of art, history, and community throughout the month of February. Schools used the month as a springboard to celebrate individuals from Black history and the community every day. Here are some of the activities and celebrations from NHA schools:
Bennett Venture Academy
Bennett Venture Academy had more than 115 families take part in its Black History Month Gallery Walk. All grades displayed a poster detailing a historical figure and their accomplishments for classmates and visitors to peruse.

This Bennett Venture Academy student wrote about Shirley Chisolm, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress.

Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School
Like those at Detroit Merit Academy, Brooklyn Excelsior students decorated the school and walls with prominent figures and their stories. Students also read quotes and facts about a famous person during morning announcements. They took part in projects and essays, including one classroom project in which they created their own Black superhero. In addition, the school held a Culture Committee Assembly as second, third, and eighth graders read poetry, and fifth through eighth graders sang in a choir and danced.

Cross Creek Charter Academy
Cross Creek students in third to fifth grade were given a quiz each week with questions about important figures in Black history. Students were tested on prominent figures from politics, arts, history, and sports. The names of those who had a perfect score were entered into a drawing each week to win a book about important figures in Black history.

Fortis Academy
More than 50 parents visited Fortis Academy as part of National African American Parent Involvement Day on Feb. 13.

Parents were invited to attend an assembly, volunteer in the classroom, and vote on their top three choices for the door decorating competition, as students adorned entryways with influential or famous figures. Students also had the opportunity to pay tribute to a historical figure and their contributions on Dress Like a Hero Day.
 A door decorated for Black History Month.
This door earned first place in the Fortis Academy door decorating contest.

Linden Charter Academy
Fourth Grade Teacher Niki Green’s students held a Living Wax Museum for parents and family members on March 3 at Linden Charter Academy. The exhibit showcased students’ published work from their Unit 2 writing prompt, “How did the Harlem Renaissance change life for people in the 1920s?” Each student focused on showcasing the lives and accomplishments of a prominent African American from the Harlem Renaissance by displaying their published work, dressing up like a historical figure, and writing and memorizing a short speech, detailing the accomplishments of that historical figure.

North Dayton School of Discovery
Students at North Dayton celebrated Black History Month on Feb. 23 with several showcases, including a wax museum display, an art auction, and a display of African jewelry and art.

The school also held a program kicked off by fifth graders playing a drum call and highlighted by keynote speaker Jeffrey J. Mims, the mayor of Dayton. Led by masters of ceremony Derek White, dean of lower elementary, and Michelle Pledgure-Harrington, dean of upper elementary, the program showcased stepping, a spirited dance used by Historically Black Colleges and Universities fraternities, and sororities. Students also recited poems and recognized three Chief Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson honorees (Denise Martin-Cross, Deirdre E. Logan, Mia Wortham Spells), and three Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall honorees (Carl S. Henderson, E. Gerald Parker, Cristopher D. Roberts).

Students performing poetry reading in front of students.
North Dayton students recited poems as part of their Black History Month celebration.

PreEminent Charter School
PreEminent scholars in grades 3-5 celebrated by learning about African-American culture, art, music, and history. They participated in hands-on activities to bring their learning to life.

River City Scholars
Fifth graders at River City Scholars celebrated historical Black history figures by opening a live museum for other classes to visit. Students gave their reports, displayed posters, and portrayed historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan, and Rosa Parks.

A door decorated to teach about black history.
Vanguard students decorated the halls and doors to give parents and families a tour through Black history.

Vanguard Charter Academy
Vanguard Charter Academy students' projects included a hall of fame and a family walkthrough.
Each wing in the school was dedicated to a period in black history (African Kings and Queens, Jazz Age, Civil Rights Era, or Upcoming Leaders), and each classroom chose a different Black hero to study and decorated their door accordingly.

When all the wings were complete, teachers took their classes on a walk through Black history. Parents and families had the opportunity to visit on Feb. 28 as students volunteered as tour guides to help lead them through the halls and learn more about Black history.

Windemere Park
Families and the community turned out for Windemere Park’s Black History Month Exhibition which featured local Black-owned businesses, student artwork, and a show from Hope Central, a student performance organization. Eight vendors were on hand, including Kona Ice and Elite Eatery.

Check out a school near you!

About National Heritage Academies:
National Heritage Academies (NHA) is a network of 99 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit

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