Plans are underway to celebrate Black History Month at Park Brook while carefully considering how to both celebrate and maintain a COVID-safe environment at Park Brook Elementary.
There have been three brainstorming sessions in January, one with strictly staff members who are team leaders, and two of the meetings for parents and staff.
With guidelines ever-changing for COVID, especially as we eagerly anticipate returning to in-person learning and the downward trend of the Omicron Variant of COVID, plans are underway but may have to be adjusted.
One idea/request that came out of the meetings was to have items that allow for teachable moments. In the hallways and display case of Park Brook we will have posters highlighting individuals that can be used for meaningful discussions as classes go to music class, physical education, lunch, restroom breaks, and so on.
PTO discussed connecting with community members the students could relate to. Melvin Carter was specifically mentioned, as was focusing on Olympians who will be competing this year.
Google Meets or an online assembly were discussed. This may include books, interviews with local individuals, and so on.
In each of the meetings, teachers shared what they have done in years past and there was discussion about what can and should be done in classrooms.
Plans are underway for a school-wide display that all students can contribute to, which was an idea from a couple of the meetings.
Staff will be taking all of the ideas and developing a plan that honors the contributions of Individuals who are Black in our community and country.
Throughout the school year, our goal is to have all students feel valued based upon who they are as individuals and their race. The guided reading curriculum uses books that represent our students. In music throughout the year, different cultures and races are intentionally included. For example, in February we focus on Black History Month, but we also want to have all students of all races feel valued throughout the entire year, not just one month of the year.
In past years, Black History Month has included school-wide assemblies with one-person plays for students to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Madam C.J. Walker, and Wilma Rudolph; assemblies to learn about Inventors who are Black; and an Olympic Assembly with an opening and closing ceremony and activities in classrooms throughout the school.
Plans will be finalized by the beginning of February for Black History Month.