“Together We Dream” – Celebrating Black History Month and Beyond

“Together We Dream”

This month, please join Lafayette in celebrating Black History Month and beyond as well as Black Lives Matter in Schools Week (Feb. 3rd – Feb. 7th).  Throughout the week, month and beyond, students will have the opportunity to participate in learning around counter-stereotypic images of Black Americans and other learning and advocacy opportunities.

What will my student be doing and learning during Black Lives Matter Week of Action and Black History Month? ​​

  • Classes will create a school wide display called “Together We Dream,” using handprints. Students & Staff  will reflect on their own dreams. 
  • Classes will participate in a Scavenger Hunt to learn about noteworthy Black Americans and their contributions. 

To guide learning in classrooms, each grade level will be assigned a word. Using this word, teaching teams will design learning plans to learn more about the contributions of Black Americans in different areas. Many of these learning activities will build on to the current learning and topics students and teachers are already engaging in.  

PreKCreate             KDG: Speak         1st: Believe                                                                            

2nd: Challenge ​        3rdWrite ​          4thLead

5thStand Up​

Grades 4 & 5 will be learning about the racialized history of the land Lafayette was built on, including the history of the original owner of the land, George Pointer. They will engage in advocacy to include historical signage and educational materials as the park and rec center undergo renovation.  

Events throughout the month:

Scavenger Hunt: Use the pictures on the first grade hall to discover more about the positive influence of black Americans 

Famous African Americans as children: Visit the area by the peace room to see photos of what famous African Americans looked like as children. 

Mirrors and Images: Display on two upper staircases created by She Reigns 

There will also be a host of other special performances and events throughout February:

2/6 at 6:30 pm  Community Conversation on Race and Equity: All families & staff members are invited to join us Thursday, February 6th at 6:30 pm for a Community Conversation about Race and Equity at Lafayette. 

 

2/7 at 10 am  Glimpse into Step: Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School will perform a brief step segment for our school on Friday, February 7 @ 10am. The informance will start with a brief video & staff sharing the history of step & its cultural significance for people of color. The group will then perform. Event will be class raffle for live show, but will be streamed for all. 

 

2/10 at 9 am  George Pointer Project Assembly4th and 5th graders will learn the history of the land Lafayette Elementary was built on that was taken by the government from George Pointer, an African American man who bought his own freedom from enslavement. We’ll hear from two local historians & two of Pointer’s descendants on Monday Feb 10 at 9am. The kids will then engage in a letter writing campaign to advocate for the naming of the new Lafayette rec center after Pointer as well as erecting a DC History Trail monument on the site. 

 

2/17 thru 2/21  February Recess

 

2/24 through 2/28  Students will use this week to create a visual representation of learning. Take a gallery walk to see what other grades have created.  

 

2/24 at 9 & 10  Stepping with Step Afrika: Step Afrika will show an interactive step performance combining step, dance, and storytelling.  That will happen on Monday, February 24 at 9-9:45 and again at 10-10:45. Open to all grades with sign up.  
2/25 at 2 pm  Into the Great Unknown: Showcasing the history of Black Explorers K, 1st and 2nd at 2pm. 

 

Time TBA: She Reigns has been invited to perform “How Do You See Me” for the Chancellor at Central Office. 

2/26 at 2:40  “The Power of Negro Spirituals”: This informance tells the history of negro spirituals with performance by Duke Ellington’s School of the Arts Show Choir on Wednesday, February 26 at FLEX, 2:40-3:15 open to all. 
2/28 at 9:30 & 2 & 6:30  “How do you See Me”: She Reigns presents an original play created for She Reigns, which will showcase how young students can be inspired by the history of great leaders of color. The informance will feature spoken word, dance, song and will showcase the various talents and passions of our girls..On Friday Feb 8th, join us at 9:30: Gr Pre K – 2, 2pm Gr 3-5 and 6:30 (open to all). 

 

Why is Lafayette participating in Black Lives Matter Week of Action? Aren’t Elementary students too young to talk about race and racism? 

Children as young as two years old use race to reason with the world and choose playmates because they have a natural curiosity about differences [Katz & Kofkin, 1997]. As Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum describes in her book, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?,” our own early experiences with race shape how we communicate about it with our children, peers and community. That’s why Black Lives Matter at School’s Curriculum Guide offers teachers an opportunity to engage with our students around these topics in a kid-friendly way during Black History Month and throughout the school year.​​

What can I do to support my student’s learning during this time? 

Students will certainly be grappling with big ideas during this time. Talking to young children about race can be uncomfortable, but it is important.  The Black Lives Matter movement has provided kid friendly language to discuss the 13 guiding principles. This guidance is here or at bit.ly/BLMprinciples. Classrooms will engage in these principles in a variety of ways. For example, teachers and students might discuss empathy as they build and sustain a positive classroom community for all students.  

Additionally, the HSA Board is engaging in reading around this topic. The article White Privilege:  Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”,  was written in 1989 by Peggy McIntosh, a well-known feminist and scholar in women’s studies and provides foundational understanding of white privilege. 

 

We hope to see everyone on Thursday, February 6th to engage in a community discussion on race and equity work at Lafayette.