Independent schools have been engaged in place-based learning for years to deepen meaningful connections with their communities and regions. Place-based learning tends to encourage students to engage with local ecosystems, but it doesn’t have to be limited–it can expand to history, economics, cartography, journalism and many other disciplines.
When schools recognize Black voices in their local community’s past and present, they can center voices and experiences that are all too often missing from textbooks, traditional resources, and curriculum. Here are three resources for expanding your school’s engagement with Black history in your community.
Blackpast.org hosts primary sources and links to digital archives about the experiences of Black people in the United States. In How Teaching Local Black History Can Empower Students, Chuck Yarborough (named the 2019 Tachau Teacher of the Year by the Organization of American Historians) describes the way his students use sources such as these to research and present local Black History.
Online resources can help educators and students develop an accurate and inclusive understanding of Black history in their area. Blackpast.org also lists African American National Historic Landmarks by state, and the National Park Service has collected lesson plans and teacher resources for many of these sites.
Additional resources about place-based learning are available for members of the Association for Academic Leaders in our online member community.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)