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Celebrating Black History & Futures Across Our Schools

Mar 8, 2024 | Charter Sector

There aren’t enough months to celebrate Black History & Futures – especially when the triumphs, innovations and culture of the community has such a growing and evolving impact on society. We have been so proud to feature programs and lessons respecting Black History from throughout charter public schools in our state.

Charter public schools are particularly adept at ensuring the learning environment opens doors for student success that are centered around the students themselves. Nationwide, there is no doubt the choice to attend a charter public school is important – 71% of Black parents strongly agree that one size does not fit all when it comes to educating children and Black students make up 24% of students in charter public schools.

Schools in our sector demonstrate in real life the importance of diversity in what we teach and who teaches it.

  • Black students in charter schools are about 50% more likely to have a Black teacher than their district school counterparts. (Fordham, 2019)
  • 10.3% of charter school teachers are Black, compared to 5.8% of district teachers (NCES, Condition of Education 2023)
  • 16.1% of charter school principals are Black, compared to 9.8% of district principals (NCES, Condition of Education 2023)

Black excellence is everywhere, especially in these classrooms. If you have seen additional stories we should highlight in the blog (or beyond!) please don’t hesitate to send them our way.

Impact Public Schools

Message from Amy Kiyota, CEO

“As February comes to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on a month dedicated to celebrating the achievements, contributions, and resilience of the Black community today and throughout history. At Impact Public Schools, we take pride in fostering an environment where every day is an opportunity to recognize and uplift Black excellence.

In the spirit of celebrating diversity and highlighting the unique experiences within our Impact Public Schools family, we are thrilled to share an insightful op-ed penned by one of our families. This op-ed, originating from Impact | Black River Elementary, beautifully captures the transformative power of our Brave Solidarity core value.

The op-ed, featured on Youth Today, articulates the profound impact that a nurturing and inclusive educational environment can have on a Black child’s educational journey.

This op-ed beautifully encapsulates the essence of our commitment to providing a world-class education that embraces and celebrates diversity. As we continue to celebrate Black History, let us reflect on the strides we’ve made and the work that lies ahead in creating an educational landscape that uplifts and empowers every student and extends beyond the walls of our schools. 

Thank you for being an integral part of the Impact Public Schools community. Together, we can ensure that every child thrives, learns, and celebrates their unique identity.”

Catalyst Public Schools: Bremerton

School Activity

“February is Black History Month. For this month staff and scholars decorated classroom doors. Our doors have sparked conversations and continue to put an everlasting image of acceptance and inclusivity at Catalyst: Bremerton.”

Just imagine the conversations around being changemakers happening behind these doors.

Rainier Prep

Message from Karen Lobos, Executive Director

Rainier Prep’s deep commitment to the transformative power of learning and community matters. This mindset roots our work to dismantle oppressive systems.  We believe in everyone’s ability to change and develop new skills.  We recognize that growth comes through practice, collaboration, challenge, and resilience.  These are critical functions of public education, as is teaching that Black History is US History.  

Representation matters.  Every heritage month, including Black History Month, students and teachers plan programming together for our whole school community. Right from the start, our educators put community first.

  • “I know what I want to see.  I want kids to feel safe in their space.”  
  • “I learned a lot last year, too, exploring different Black communities.” 
  • “Our school is majority Black, and I want to do right by our kids and make sure they feel seen.”
  • “It makes me feel seen, too!”

Black lives matter in schools.  We know that knowledge is power, and Rainier Prep must learn at the same time that we must lead.  As always, Audre Lorde places truth at the center: “Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity.”  Knowing this, our students learn to listen, lean-in, and lean-on every day.  With each heritage month, we deepen our commitment to act alongside our students, and it’s their vision of celebration that we promote.

Celebrating Black cultures and their diaspora matters.  Even our youngest students know the reasons to do so.

  • “Because i am wanting to join my own race and i want to help black lives matter and to support everyone.”
  • “I like being in history things because i do a lot of research on history and i like participating.”
  • “To end racism for good!”
  • “I want to help people find a purpose.”  

Taking action with, and for, our students matters.  Understanding how and why each of us got to where we are today matters. Combatting stereotypes matters. Learning about and sharing about Black experiences in the United States of America matters.  Black excellence matters.

Black lives matter. Every day, month, and year. At Rainier Prep. In schools. Everywhere.”

Why Not You Academy

Community Event & Educator Spotlight

Why Not You Academy hosted a special Community Dinner to celebrate Black History Month.

“Together, let’s honor and reflect on the contributions of Black Individuals in our world and school community, during this evening of unity, reflection, and celebration.”

Why Not You Academy also shared a spotlight on the Black educators at the school:

“Black Males make up 1.3% of the educator force in the US, but at Why Not You Academy we OUTPERFORM those statistics. Black male educators make up 25% of educators and our scholars benefit because of it.

We are grateful for the brilliance, dedication, and leadership of these incredible Black male educators of Why Not You Academy. Your presence enriches our community every single day.”