Every February, Osseo Area Schools celebrates Black History Month in many different ways. From elementary to middle to high schools, staff and students have found unique ways to honor this month, from learning about key historical figures to hanging signs in the halls.
At Park Brook Elementary School, students created a public piece of artwork. Students colored a hand using skin-toned crayons, selecting the one that they feel best represents their skin-tone. The hands of students were displayed around a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s I have a Dream speech. Teachers at Park Brook incorporated lessons studying Lois Mailou Jones and Michael Jordan. A display case at the front of the building was decorated to celebrate Black History Month, and posters were placed around the school where students can see them walking in the halls.
At Cedar Island Elementary School, students learned about Black American artists, activists, leaders, inventors, teachers and scientists, focusing on stories of joy and resistance. Students have read about many heroes and leaders such as King Tut, George Washington Carver, Barack Obama, Mae Jemison, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, Katherine Johnson, Jesse Owens, and more.
Students at Fernbrook Elementary School also learned about key figures like Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Ruby Bridges. Students shared reports on various historical figures and the impact they made. Music students learned about the song "I'm On My Way," which is a song about escaping slavery using images of following the North Star.
Garden City Elementary School invited families to participate in National African American Parent Involvement Day on Feb. 14. Felicia Phillips, educational support professional and author, talked about her new books “Coping with Covid for Kids” and “Dear Black Girl, You Can.” She wrote these books to explain challenging concepts and to encourage young people to take action in their lives. After reading “Dear Black Girl, You Can,” signed copies of both books were given away as raffle prizes.
At Oak View Elementary School, students received daily trivia about Black History Month and learned about influential Black American leaders.
Rush Creek Elementary School classrooms focused on sharing information and having conversation around the stories and accomplishments of Black Americans during morning meetings as well as during read aloud. Students learned about Dr. James McCune Smith, Dr. Rebecca Crumpler, and other Black American doctors and practitioners to align with the Black History Month theme of “Black Health and Wellness.” Students also focused on creating art based on the works of famous Black Artists, such as Mark Bradford and Alma Woodsey Thomas.
Edinbrook Elementary School fourth graders put on a social justice concert inspired by the book “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” by Amanda Gorman.Students sang songs including “Do the Good You Know” by Mike Wilson, “Be the Change” by Marc Kaplan and Colin Britt and “We are Here” by Teresa Jennings.
Students at Palmer Lake Elementary School celebrated Black History Month by learning about local Supreme Court Justice retiree, Minnesota Viking and children's author, Alan Page.
To celebrate Black History Month, teachers at many of the schools, including Birch Grove Elementary School and Zanewood Elementary School, decorated their doors to bring staff and students together around collaboration and community. Students at Zanewood Elementary additionally heard daily Black History Month facts over the morning announcements.
Students at North View Middle School are engaging in African American spirituals. The band class will be performing “We Shall Not be Moved” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” at their upcoming concert on March 23. Also at NVMS, Black History team building activities took place on Thursday’s during advisory for the month of February, and students lead an initiative to wear all black on Feb. 15 in honor of Black History Month.
The Student Leadership Council at Osseo Middle School worked to create posters to celebrate the various heritage months throughout the year, including Black History Month. OMS also featured black authors in their front media center display.
Brooklyn Middle School welcomed author Michelle Perdue to speak to a group of seventh and eighth grade students for an amazing experience for students to learn together about themselves and their own resilient spirits.
Park Center Senior High School hosted a Black Professionals Career Panel for students during Advisory, which allowed students the opportunity to meet professionals and learn about education and training for careers.
At Maple Grove Senior High School, many visuals were displayed in the hallways and stairwells depicting significant black Americans and their contributions/achievements. Students heard a PA announcement on Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 introducing Black History Month and reading a Maya Angelou poem. The Media Center also has several displays and book promotions related to Black History Month.
Osseo Senior High School is hosting an event on Monday, Feb. 28 called “Osseo Speaks,” organized by students and featuring several speakers, dancers, and videos.
The scholars from 279Online's News from the Den team celebrated Black History Month by highlighting important historical figures, interviewing a black teacher, conducting a scholar interview, and sharing the African pledge.
The Osseo Education Center celebrated Black History Month with features on overcoming challenges, self-advocacy, and pursuing dreams each week in Interpersonal Skills classes. There have been features on Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson (Hidden Figures), Vivien Thomas (Something the Lord Made), Jackie Robinson (42), Mohammed Ali (Ali) and other unsung heroes highlighted in Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History. Scholars also created dioramas of their personal identities.
Osseo Area Schools will continue to commemorate Black History Month and dedicate time to celebrate, honor, and learn about people or events that have impacted Black culture in our country's history.