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Black History Month Lessons

Through literature, history and the arts, Black History Month is a part of key lessons this February.
Students in music teacher Laura Bass’ classes have been learning about the contributions of black musicians and composers - talents such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and others. Grade 3 listened to their music and watched their collaborative performances. They also discussed segregation and how other blacks could not attend the clubs where Ellington played. With core values in action, Ms. Bass commented: “The students were in agreement that all humans deserve to be treated equally with kindness and respect, regardless of the color of their skin.” Other Lower School classes are reading biographies and stories reflecting black contributions.
In addition, last semester Hilary Brownstein’s Grade 10 English classes read the play “A Raisin in the Sun,” which documents a family’s experiences with housing discrimination and racism. This month, they took in the full performance on stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Students in English teacher Laurie Popiel’s Grade 9 classes read "To Kill a Mockingbird," and reflected on its themes. She said that students initially felt that a novel set in the segregated South in the 1930s would not be relevant to their lives today. After finishing the book, however, most felt the experience was incredibly valuable. And in English teacher’s Jason Touvi’s Grade 8 classes, students examined the history of the Harlem Renaissance, the Jazz Age and the Civil Rights Movement while studying the poetry of Langston Hughes.