My passion for driving school curricula to be more inclusive and representative of all nationalities and people of color started when I was a young teen going through school. I’d always wondered why school only taught how my ancestors were oppressed, but at home I was taught how there have been many people of color that accomplished great things. The fact that I was only receiving a one-sided narrative – outside of February, where I received surface-level information about Black History –was very bothersome. It made me feel like an afterthought.
Black History, Native American History, Hispanic History, Asian History, and all other ethnic histories should be taught year-round instead of being delegated to a certain month and should not be separate from overall and core learning – unlike how most of us grew up learning.
Our demographic of students in particular, should learn that people who look like them have accomplished great things. Many of our students suffer from low self-esteem. I believe it is essential that they learn about the successes and accomplishments of people who look like them instead of learning from typical, oppressive history lessons. My hope is that shifting our school’s curriculum in this manner will go a long way in raising our kids’ self-belief and help them realize that they are capable of great things, too. The benefit of diverse learning is the growth of knowledge, empathy, and understanding of people. It helps nurture relationships in and out of school.
Starting this school year, we will study the vast history of Native Americans in Colorado, and how Native Americans live here, as well as in the rest of this country today. We will study inventors and influential people of color, as well as the progression, and continued between people of color, and white people. Readings throughout the year will cover all of these topics.
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Assistant Principal, Tennyson Center for Children