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TUFSD Teachers and Students Celebrate Black History Month

Throughout February, the district has been celebrating Black History Month, which we believe is an important opportunity to spotlight and honor Black Americans' achievements while learning about their rich histories, traditions, and culture - so many of which have become embedded in American society. 

As the month draws to a close, we’d like to share how the district has raised awareness about the accomplishments of Black Americans and their struggles.

Sleepy Hollow Radio saluted the influences of Black artists by airing historic concert performances by powerhouses Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, and others. SHR programming also included a special interview with former US Congressman Mondaire Jones and a conversation with musical artist and younger brother of Simone, Samuel L. Waymon.  

At SHHS, Black pioneers in the field of technology were recognized in computer science classrooms, including Mark Dean, who was an important figure in the development of the IBM PC. Although Black computer scientists have shaped the field of Computer Science and helped pave the way for future generations, Black people continue to be vastly underrepresented in the computer science industry. Teaching about their contributions is an important reminder of the need for diversity in the workplace. 

In the Freshmen Experience classes, influential Black Women in history have been the learning focus this past month. Mr. Hanushak’s AP Biology class completed a Bioethics case study about Henrietta Lacks, and her unwitting donation of cells continues to be used in medical research today.

The SHMS/SHMS Library spotlighted Coretta Scott King award-winning books like Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, Before and After, Brown Girl Dreaming, and many others.  Coretta Scott King awards are given to authors and illustrators who have shown "an appreciation for African American culture and human values"   

Hallways were decorated with images and biographies of Black Americans who have a difference at Washington Irving. In the WI classroom, students discussed the character traits that personify these Black Americans' resilience and perseverance. 

Students at WL Morse began each day with morning announcements that included a special segment on a different famous Black American. In classrooms, 1st and 2nd graders read aloud books, watched videos, and wrote short assignments about inspirational Black Americans.

Ms. Esposito’s Kindergartners learned about Mae Jemison, the first African-American in space. After reading a book about Jemison, the students were challenged with a STEM engineering problem: Mae got “stuck in space!” The young students collaborated, imaginatively creating a parachute to return to earth!  

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Equity Felipe Orozco says that the district is committed to helping students obtain a more complete and accurate understanding of the past, including how multiple cultures have shaped our country today. “One doesn’t have to go further than the Villages of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow to see the infusion of different cultures in our communities, and we believe that is something to understand and celebrate,” said Mr. Orozco.