Black History Week was started in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. In 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month. Ford noted the need to ensure that the contributions of African-Americans were recognized at a time when history books, schools, media and society did little to acknowledge their contributions.
Shorecrest is very fortunate to have a Board- and community-developed Strategic Plan that supports the advancement of diversity, inclusion and equity in our school community. Having a Director of Diversity and Inclusion, like having Academic and Curriculum Coordinators, an Athletic Director, Chairs for Performing and Visual Arts, a Director of Service Learning and a Director of Advancement, to name a few, signal to our community and anyone interested in our community that we believe in the importance of these functions. By having a Director of Diversity and Inclusion, we are assured that the Board, Administrators, faculty, staff, students and families will have an expert leading and guiding us as we strive to ensure that Shorecrest is a diverse and inclusive community.
Roderick Fludd, our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, has not made race the sole focus of his work. The needs of the international community, the place for religion in a non-affiliated, independent school, economic diversity, sexual orientation, gender identity and equity in employment are topics members of the community have explored with our Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Roderick’s balanced, patient and open method of teaching and learning has created safe places and opportunities for growth. The place for diversity and inclusion in any organization is so complex that race cannot be the only topic addressed.
However, February has been declared African-American History month in the U.S., and many of our classrooms have highlighted the significant and important contributions of black people from around the world and throughout history. To name a few:
Third grade teacher and Shorecrest alumna, Mrs. Khana Rebman ‘05, developed a display that highlights her pride of being an African-American woman. Her students are creating brochures on iconic African Americans which they will share with JK students.
Her third grade colleague Mrs. Jen Hobbs also developed a display and is having regular readings that focus on African-Americans.
First grade teacher Susan Owen and her colleagues Christine Oman and Jill Densa have highlighted a historically significant black person each day in their morning messages to students.
Mrs. Tucker’s second grade is learning about famous African-Americans and reading books on the topic.
Middle School advisory groups dedicated a week-long study of Black History topics in CPR.
Some of our sixth grade students have highlighted African Folktales in their folktale/puppet unit of study.
Seventh grade will visit Fort Mose Historic State Park, the first sanctioned African settlement in the United States.
The Upper School Screenwriting class studied “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Middle School music classes are studying dances from the Dunham Technique of dance.
Eighth grade will visit the African-American History Museum in Washington, D.C. and is engaged in an interdisciplinary study of the history of prejudice toward people of color.
The Black Student Union (BSU), Shorecrest’s African-American student affinity group, is developing presentations for an US morning meeting on the contributions of African-Americans. The BSU is also planning a viewing of the movie “The Hate U Give” based on the popular novel of the same name, with a panel discussion around the experiences of our Shorecrest African-American students.
- Chaise Campbell '20 and Kira Held '20 attended the NAIS People of Color Conference in January representing the Chargers (pictured) and spoke about their experience before the Shorecrest Board of Trustees.
Many other teachers have lessons and programs that go on throughout the year, not just in February, to highlight the significant contributions African-American and black people have made in literary, scientific, historical and social justice fields. I am appreciative of all of our educators and community members who use the accomplishments of great people from around the world to inspire our children to find their passions and strive for excellence.