Poughkeepsie Schools Mark Black History Month

POUGHKEEPSIE – Poughkeepsie City School District is celebrating Black History Month in very unique and creative ways throughout its schools. Here are some examples:

Poughkeepsie High School
During morning announcements at Poughkeepsie High School, African American artists, poets and historical figures are highlighted. All selections are made by students, Principal Kelleyann Royce-Giron said.

Teachers have put up bulletin boards celebrating this month, as well as having conversations about race in their classrooms. PHS also offers a course on Black history.

“Clearly, they’re upping the ante,” Royce-Giron said. “It’s not just this month that we have these conversations – it’s ongoing and fluid.”

Additionally, on Feb. 18, students will be treated to a virtual theater experience led by actor Richard Gallion. In “1800s vs. 2020,” Gallion tackles what would happen if slaves from the 1800s were able to speak to people in 2020.

Poughkeepsie Middle School
Every morning, a question about Black history is asked over the PA at Poughkeepsie Middle School. Students have five minutes to write their answer and give it to their teacher. Answers are submitted to a drawing for a $5 gift card at the end of the week. Students who are on time and correctly answer a question about Black history, can also receive a gift card.

“We wanted to do something a little different,” Principal Joseph Mazzetti said. “We want them to live it, breathe it.”

The school’s counselors are offering activities about African American history during social studies classes for students to understand the obstacles African Americans overcame and their triumphs. Additionally, a door decorating contest representing Black history will be held.

All the activities are important because they show students that they should never give up on their dreams, just like the historical figures they are learning about.

“It helps them understand how they can overcome obstacles and be successful,” Mazzetti explained.

Morse Elementary School
At Morse Elementary School, students are reading passages by famous African Americans and a door decorating contest celebrating the month will be conducted, Principal Samantha Mitchell said.

“Teachers are in the process of making bulletin boards with their students and decorating their rooms,” Mitchell said. “We’re excited.”

Black History Month is important for the district’s diverse student population, who can look up to historic African American figures who look like them. “It’s important for our children to understand that they are able to do anything they put their minds to,” she said. “It’s critical for our students to have role models to look up to.”

Krieger Elementary School
A virtual presentation will take place at Krieger Elementary School on Feb. 25 with one fourth grade class singing the Black National Anthem and doing a presentation on famous African Americans. The other fourth grade class will read a poem by Langston Hughes with a drumming accompaniment.

“There will be a drumming rendition focusing on respect,” Principal Starla Ciarelli said. “It will be good.”

Ciarelli expressed the importance of students being comfortable with and knowing their history and praised the students for their hard work.

Warring Elementary School
While Warring won’t have an assembly this year to honor Black History Month, students are researching and learning about famous African Americans and their importance, Principal Juliette Coxum said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email