During the month of February, CPS students at every grade level wrote poems, sang songs, created art, and studied literature, all in the celebration of Black History Month.
In an intricate assembly that included every student, Barnard Elementary celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Titled "Tell Me A Story, Our Story", the students reenacted the stories of Charles Albert Tindley, Rosa Parks, "The Greensboro Four", "Ruby Bridges", "The Freedom Riders", and "The March on Washington", then culminated the program with Lyndon Johnson's signing of the Civil Rights Act. The stories were told through poetry, songs, dramatization and dance, with the goal of reaffirming that African-American history is "American" history.
The goal of the Black history Month celebration at Bateman was to establish that African-American history is everyone's history, and that all students, regardless of their ethnicity, can benefit from learning about and celebrating a variety of cultures.
On February 20, Bateman students in grades 1-8 presented two performances in honor of Black History Month. Both included "Lift Every voice and Sing", the Black National Anthem, and performances by the Bateman band and choir.
In the performance featuring primary grade students, Bateman's four Kindergarten classes performed a song about Kwanzaa, while the first-graders presented oral histories on famous African-Americans. The older students adapted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's most famous speech to "I Have a Dream for 2014", talking about their hopes and dreams for the future and the journeys that will help them achieve their goals.
Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA)
The Social Science, Fine Arts and STEM teams at CVCA came together to create numerous Black History Month events, including a "Question of the Day" competition that crowned one student per day the school's African-American Historian.
On February 28, CVCA will host an African-American Arts Festival, which will include a gospel performance by the school choir, a Black Inventors Display, and a History Fair where students from social science classes will portray influential African-Americans from across several decades.
The Literacy Committee at Henry Elementary coordinated the school's participation in the 2014 National African-American Read-In – a movement that urges schools, libraries and professional organizations to make literacy a significant part of celebrating Black History Month. During the month of February, teachers read and assigned literature by African-American authors and assisted the Literacy Committee in documenting Henry's participation in the read-in.
At Phillip Rogers Elementary, students in grades 1-8 performed songs, dances and poems as part of a Black History Month assembly that was open to the entire school community. Fifth-graders Jeanie H. and Coura M., both finalists in a citywide poetry contest that honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., read their poems, and all backdrops and artwork used in the performance were original student creations.
At Sandoval Elementary, music teacher Isiah Baldwin put his saxophone to good use during Black History Month, playing tunes from Scott Joplin and other African-American musicians over the school's P.A. system. Meanwhile, borrowing a ritual common to elite athletes, technology teacher Antoinette Armstrong had students create cereal boxes featuring prominent African-Americans in sports, the arts, business and public service. Each student decorated a cereal box with either a photo or drawing of an influential African-American, then added facts about their life and contributions to society. The cereal boxes were displayed around Sandoval's large courtyard throughout