Letter from the MC Assistant Principal

Hello school family,

This month as we celebrate Black History Month I want to share a bit about some of the work that we do at the Middle Campus throughout the year, and particularly in February. We are a school that values diversity. Alternative perspectives and the work of people of color can be found in our classrooms all year round. Back in October as I dropped in to observe Ms. Sammy and Ms. Wood’s 6th grade Language and Literature class, they were having their students analyze Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. They followed this discussion with an analysis of Maya Angelou. In Ms. Goodwin’s 8th grade Language and Literature class students are currently preparing to read the work of Zora Neale Hurston. 

We are a school that honors an inclusive and honest curriculum everyday, however we definitely step it up in the month of February. In preparation for Morning Meeting this week Mrs. Hardon sent some students to interview Dr. Goodgame and me about what it means to be Principled (“principled” is an IB learner profile attribute), as well as the connection of this word to people we admire in Black history. Last week during our faculty meeting, Dr. Goodgame included a spotlight on Black history in which she shared the impact that reading the poetry of Langston Hughes, and of Maya Angelou, had on her when she was in high school. A teacher helped her connect to poetry through these writers in a way that no one had before. Just a couple of days ago I popped into Mrs. Hinton’s virtual classroom, and she was playing a video about Hank Aaron’s legacy as a part of her Brain Smart Start.

Speaking of Mrs. Hinton hopefully you read the interview in HOWL weekly (click on “BHM Celebration Interview”) about how her idea about celebrating Black History more seriously resulted in our current Black History Month Celebration and Teach-In. Back in 2010 a conversation over lunch with former Performing Arts teacher Aaron Goodson about the need to celebrate Black history at ANCS in a grander, more focused way, turned into a massive celebration of Black history and culture. When I experienced it for the first time in my first year at ANCS ten years ago, I hadn’t seen anything like it. I saw amazing performances, I saw presentations from experts in Black history and culture, and joy and pride in Black History filled the building. I was impressed with the work, and I aspired to be a part of it. After a couple years I started helping out, and now I do a lot of behind the scenes work to keep it going.

For those not familiar with the Middle Campus’s Black History Month Celebration and Teach-In it typically involves a celebration during Morning Meeting that includes speeches, performances, and historical anecdotes. The presence of our ancestors is always palpable in the room. The Celebration is followed by the remainder of our day being dedicated to classes about Black history taught by faculty, students, and outside presenters; culminating in reflection about the day during Advisory. This year the Teach-In, which will take place on Wednesday, February 24th, will include sessions on the Social Construct of Race; the poetry of Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman; the history of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem; and other topics. 

We have also convened panels of ANCS faculty and staff who attended HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) to participate in student-moderated discussions about HBCU’s and their impact. It will be another educational, powerful, engaging, and fun-filled celebration. We had to shorten the timing of the sessions this year, but we will hold true to what we have historically done. 

While this year is different in that it will be virtual, this also allows us to extend an invitation to our broader ANCS community to witness some of what we are doing. We will send out more information about this at a later date as we finalize those details.

 

Kind regards,

Mark

Mark Sanders
Middle Campus Assistant Principal