TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Schools officials have announced month-long plans to celebrate Black History Month 2023 in February.
Across the county, individual schools are welcoming guest speakers, sharing information during morning announcements, hosting door decorating contests, creating musical programs, showing Black films, writing reports, reading biographies, offering special assemblies, and more.
“BCPS celebrates Black history year-round; however, the month of February affords us a special opportunity to explore and elevate some of the people and stories that are sometimes overlooked,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams. “Black history is an integral part of American history, and I encourage all students and families to spend time this month learning more about Black history and the diversity and strength of Black culture.”
Systemwide BCPS activities
Every school day during February, BCPS will spotlight a Black BCPS graduate on social media.
The Black Excellence Program is an extracurricular BCPS activity that teaches students about the people, places, and events that have been important throughout the Black experience in America. The program has three key components during the 2022–2023 school year: a book study, a school-based competition, and the development of presentations. Schools and students may participate in one, two, or all three components of the program.
Schools participating this year are Baltimore Highlands, Berkshire, Carney, Cedarmere, Chatsworth, Dundalk, Glyndon, Harford Hills, Joppa View, Mars Estates, Milbrook, Rodgers Forge, Rossville, Stoneleigh, Warren, Westchester, Westowne, West Towson, Winfield, and Woodbridge elementary schools, and Catonsville, Cockeysville, Deep Creek, Deer Park, Franklin, Golden Ring, Loch Raven Technical Academy, Parkville, and Perry Hall middle schools.
The program will conclude with a systemwide public event at Loch Raven High School on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. The event will showcase presentations students developed in response to the books they read or the 2022-2023 independent research prompt: “Breaking Barriers and Innovation: How have others created the world I live in today?”
Black History Month Writing Contest
The BCPS Offices of English Language Arts and Social Studies are co-sponsoring the annual Black History Month writing contest. A winner will be selected in each of the following grade level bands: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. Prizes for winners will be provided by The Education Foundation of BCPS.
Students are asked to write in response to the following quotation from Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice: “Our children are telling me that they see now, more than ever, that, here in America, anything is possible.” Students are asked to write about an African American activist, artist, athlete, author, musician, scientist, or other public figure who has helped them see that anything is possible.
All entries must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 10. Only four entries will be accepted from each school. More information is available in an online flyer. Students are encouraged to ask their English language arts and social studies teachers for additional information.
More than 800 BCPS middle and high school students will see special private performances by the Washington, D.C.-based SOLE Defined dance company. The performances for BCPS students will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts. This activity is part of a month-long celebration of Black Dance in America hosted by the Gordon Center in collaboration with the Baltimore Black Dance Collective, Baltimore County Public Schools, and local dance artists. Tickets for the public performances at the Gordon Center during Take a Leap 2023: Celebrating Black History Month Through Dance can be found online. Use promo code DANCE50 and save 50 percent on tickets.
At 3 p.m. every Tuesday in February, BCPS will post Black History Month trivia questions on Instagram Stories (@teambcps). Stories will be live for 24 hours and will be archived in BCPS Instagram highlights.
Highlights of school-based activities
At Campfield Early Learning Center, library lessons throughout the month will focus on Black History Month. In addition, students will participate in a virtual field trip.
Chadwick Elementary School will welcome local author Kenji Jackson on Monday, Feb. 13, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. and participate virtually in the Arts for Learning Maryland’s “Blacktastic” program on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Glyndon Elementary School will host a multicultural fair on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6 – 7 p.m.
Hebbville Elementary School will present its schoolwide Annual Black History Month Celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m.
To celebrate Black History Month at Lansdowne Middle School, students will view slideshows and videos during their homerooms and keep notes in a Black History Month booklet. Later in the month, students will use homeroom time to research and create a one-pager about a person or event assigned to their class. The one-pagers will be assembled to create a timeline quilt.
At Reisterstown Elementary School, students will write their dreams on a cut-out of their hands and create a schoolwide display.
Each week during Black History Month will have a special theme at Rodgers Forge Elementary School. Week 1 will be “Kickoff to Black History Month”; Week 2: “Spotlight on Ruby Bridges”; Week 3: “Spotlight on Jackie Robinson”; and Week 4: “Research and Writing about a Famous Black American.” Among the school’s other activities, each day the school will highlight a different Black leader.
Westchester Elementary School will create a display about famous African Americans and their contributions to history. Across grade levels activities, students will read biographies and auto-biographies, share information about Black athletes, and read and respond to Martin Luther King’s “I Have Dream” speech.
West Towson Elementary School will present a Black History Month Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 1:30 p.m.