In our first post of 2024, we’re talking about Black History Month, highlighting Diversity Resource Teachers, sharing information about credentialing in Culturally Responsive Teaching this school year, and announcing the date for our 9th annual Equity Conference and Awards Ceremony.
February is Black History Month
Black History Month began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Virginia native Carter G. Woodson, the founder of this historical month, was one of the first scholars to study the history of people of African descent in the United States. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
As we serve ACPS students throughout the month of February and beyond, let us celebrate Black History and the contributions of countless individuals who have contributed to our shared American history. Below are some resources that you might find helpful in your own growth and for use with students:
- Of local interest: Albemarle’s Black Classrooms, the story of the history of education for African Americans in Albemarle County, Virginia, from emancipation to desegregation, and Raised/Razed, the life and destruction of Black neighborhoods in Charlottesville, VA, and Durham, NC
- Beyond Rosa Parks: Powerful Voices for Civil Rights and Social Justice: activist series for grades 6-12 presented by Learning for Justice
- African American History and Culture in the United States: A Teacher’s Guide: a collection of lessons and resources for grades K-12 presented by EDSITEment, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Trust for the Humanities
- Short Wave Celebrates Black Excellence in Science: a collection of podcast episodes produced by NPR ShortWave featuring Black scientists
- National Museum of African American History & Culture Virtual Exhibitions: Take your students on a virtual tour of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. There are several exhibits to choose from!
- K-12 ACPS Social Studies Curriculum: Please check the content pacing guides for grades K-5 and the DPLC plans for grades 6-12 for resources centered on Black excellence, agency, joy and resistance. Through our Reframing the Narrative initiative, we uplift Black history and Black excellence throughout the year, as well as during Black History Month.
- Middle School Advisory Curriculum: Our guaranteed viable curriculum for Middle School Advisory also uplifts Black excellence, agency, joy and resistance. In particular, during February, seventh-grade students learn about Black artists’ experiences with joy and acts of resistance in quilting, braiding and ballet as part of this lesson: Do It for the Culture. In this lesson, students also explore the Black diaspora across the world.
Diversity Resource Teachers: Models and Support of Culturally Responsive Practice
At the 2023 ACPS Annual Equity Conference and Awards Ceremony, Marquell Woodson (pictured, right, with Journey Middle School students) received the Rising Equity Leader Award. Marquell currently serves with Melissa Taylor as a Diversity Resource Teacher at Journey Middle School. In acknowledgment of this award and recognition of Black History Month, we’ve asked Marquell to respond to a few questions for this Spotlight on Equity Education:
What does Black History Month mean to you, and how do you observe Black History Month in your classroom?
Black History Month signifies the celebration of individuals of African American descent who have made significant contributions to shape the world we live in today. In my classroom, I observe Black History Month in various ways, including, but not limited to:
- Person of the day – a focus on a new person in Black History each day.
- Student research – students will be able to complete a research project on a notable figure from Black History.
- I also work to ensure that all students in the building have similar experiences.
What motivates you to take on the responsibilities of a Diversity Resource Teacher?
I love the opportunity to contribute to positive change within our school through school-based equity leadership and coaching. As a Diversity Resource Teacher, I thoroughly enjoy cultivating meaningful relationships with students, faculty, and staff. Whether through engaging in courageous conversations or providing support and learning opportunities, I am dedicated to working collaboratively to achieve equitable outcomes.
We are grateful to Marquell and all of our Diversity Resource Teachers for their equity work for our students in their educator roles and their support for our schools. We encourage you to reach out to your school’s Diversity Resource Teacher to find ways to partner with them in our collective efforts to serve ALL the students in our division.
Culturally Responsive Teaching Credential
The ACPS Strategic Plan, “Learning for All,” states that ACPS will ensure that all licensed staff members earn a Culturally Responsive Teaching micro-credential or certification within their first three years as new ACPS staff, or by 2026 for teachers under contract as of the 2020-21 school year. The pathway toward micro-credentialing has been streamlined this year in an effort to make it more accessible to everyone who needs the credential. After the prerequisite book study, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, teachers should complete three online, asynchronous courses to earn the micro-credential.
Course #1: Cultural Lenses finished in November, and Course #2: Culturally Responsive Instruction will begin on Thursday, January 25. Click here to register for the course!
Save the Date: May 18, 2024 — 9th Annual Equity Conference and Awards Ceremony
On May 18, 2024, we will honor everyone who has earned an ACPS Certification or Micro-Credential in Culturally Responsive Teaching. This conference will include presentations from ACPS credentialed educators, student panels, keynote speakers, lunch, and the presentation of awards to our newly credentialed educators for 2024. Look for more details and registration information in the coming weeks!
ACPS Equity Specialists are available to provide Professional Learning Community (PLC) and school-level support for Culturally Responsive Teaching practices and to assist in helping teachers work through the credentialing process. For support or assistance, please reach out to the specialist(s) assigned to your school or email ACPSEquitySpecialists@k12albemarle.org.