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Academy of Mathematics and Science Provides Black History Goes Beyond February With New Curriculum – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) — Talking and learning about black history beyond February.

That’s what a suburban school district has made a new priority this year. As CBS 2’s Steven Graves explains, it was a student-led effort
which could serve as a model for others.

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During all her years of learning, Danaria Keys noticed that something was missing. Her history, black history, she said, was pretty much non-existent.

“So having a full course is exciting. It’s something new. It’s something I’ve never had,” Keys said.

This year, Proviso Math and Science Academy Senior helped implement a new district-wide curriculum. She and a group of students from Forest Park School have been convincing the administration over the past few years. Inspired recently by the murder and civil unrest of George Floyd.

“It was so much dark trauma and sometimes you don’t really know where it came from,” Keys said.

Advanced studies in black history is not just an option, but now a requirement for graduation. District 209 is approximately 30% black and 60% Latino students. Ditto for the predominantly white teaching staff (68%).

Professor George Bunn leads a class that focuses more on questions and discussions, giving his life lessons as a black teacher.

“Projects that have to do with Black Lives Matter and mass incarceration and things of that nature,” Bunn said.

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Another course, Black History 365, for sophomores, goes beyond the timeline of the civil rights movement and covers many prominent black leaders in a specially curated book.

And this book has over 1,200 pages of black history with pictures, lessons, and even QR codes. The goal: to really whet the curiosity of this young generation. It doesn’t matter the race.

Senior Aaron Castro wants classes to be implemented sooner.

“It’s just the fact that we’re learning more about things that were previously hidden from us. It’s a good thing that really helped me broaden my horizons,” Castro said.

Keys will graduate this year with the intention of studying law. Leaving this legacy behind and a model for others to follow.

“I mean, it’s just the beginning. We have a long way to go,” Keys asked.

The Township District of Proviso told CBS 2 it is focused on hiring more black educators to teach classes. They represent only about 18% of the teaching staff.

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