Black History Month: School Celebrations

Each February, we celebrate Black History Month at our schools by honoring important people and events in Black history. This is especially important given the demographics of our community in the South Bronx. We want our children to recognize and celebrate the vast contributions made by Black citizens in American society.

In observation of Black History Month, we strive to acknowledge historical figures that do not typically get the spotlight but deserve it. We aim to deepen our scholars’, and staff’s, understanding of historical figures we know some – but not all – about. For example, George Washington Carver must be remembered for more than developing peanut products; he revolutionized agriculture! While we do celebrate important figures in arts, entertainment, and athletics, we are intentional about discussing other historical contributions beyond the mainstream and popular celebrities that scholars already know and admire.

Below are just some of the many ways that we’ve celebrated Black History Month at our schools.

Day in the Spotlight

As a Middle School History teacher, I had no greater pleasure than creating the “day in the spotlight” presentations for our school. I would put together a few slides showcasing fun facts about an important person in Black history. I’d then distribute the PowerPoints to classroom teachers to present to scholars during the Morning Meeting or Snack blocks. This daily ritual was a learning celebration for our scholars and our teachers – and it was quick and simple to put together.


Ask Me About…

The next activity we executed put more ownership on scholars to dig into Black history. Scholars in the upper elementary and middle school classrooms were assigned people to research. They were provided nametags featuring their important person’s name with a note, “Ask me about ____.” Teachers, staff, and scholars would question them about who their important person was and what they are known for. This gives scholars a chance to demonstrate what they know, to inform and educate others.

Featured Artists

Throughout Black History Month and across the school year, our art teachers have fun featuring influential Black artists. Ms. Brodner’s art classes at SBCCS I, for example, have just completed fabulous Basquiat portraits and decorated their art bulletin with inspiration from Kimmy Cantrell masks and Charles McGee line drawings.


Dedicated Space

Our hallway bulletins and doors are adorned with decorations to celebrate Black History Month. In previous years, we’ve seen inspiration from influential figures such as Langston Hughes, Katherine Johnson, and Ruby Bridges, to name a few. Not only do these decorations make our hallways look bright and beautiful, but they give us the reminder to pause, reflect, and celebrate Black history and all the significant contributions made by these monumental individuals.


The best part about all these initiatives is that they are relatively low-lift and long-lasting. The learning can and should last long past the month of February and the decorations can keep our hallways beautiful for the months to follow. The children should remain key players in the celebrations as well. Involving them in the art-making and research makes the history come alive in a richer way and builds enthusiasm for what they are learning and celebrating this month and beyond.



This post was contributed by Ms. Aquino, Instructional Coach and former Middle School History teacher. As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.


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