January 31, 2024 – Staff and students within the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) will be celebrating Black History Month all February long with lessons, activities, field trips and more that emphasize ongoing learning about the Black community. The goal is for all staff and students to participate in classroom activities that celebrate the history, culture, perspectives and lived experiences of Black Canadians.
“The Upper Canada District School Board is committed to ensuring that our students and staff are educated about the valuable contributions of all members of our society and have the knowledge and skills to identify and address prejudice, discrimination and racism,” explains Dan McRae. “We do this all year round, but in February schools put a focus on Black history and voices. It’s exciting to see our schools really embrace Black History Month and infuse everyday lessons with rich cultural and historical content.”
Although every school will plan their own activities and find creative ways to celebrate Black History Month, here are examples of what some schools have planned:
Using Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January as inspiration, Grade 5/6 students at Wellington Elementary School did mini-research projects that centered on achievement and goals. They completed a 6,000 stud Lego mosaic of Martin Luther King and have plans to continue their 3D Lego portrait gallery throughout February by adding Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.
Pleasant Corners PS will be working on writing a book called the ABCs of Positive Character about historical Black figures who have shown positive character and made the world a better place.
Montague Public School and Westminster Public School plan to have daily announcements that highlight the significant contributions of Black Canadians.
Students from Seaway District High School and Morrisburg Public School will travel to Upper Canada Village to take part in a pilot project to learn about the historical contributions made by people of colour in our communities.
Laggan Public School will be learning about influential artist and teacher Allma Woodsey, and creating work inspired by her.
Schools have also been provided with resources to take part in a speaker series that highlights prominent and successful Black Canadians from across the country; been given guidance on books that would make for interesting and meaningful classroom discussions, and ideas for exciting real-world learning projects that focus on learning about diversity in hockey and sharing their findings with their communities.