February marks the beginning of Black History Month, a unique opportunity for our nation to acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of the Black community. This month also serves as an important reminder that Black history is American history. As educators, Black History Month is also an opportunity to reflect on how we can better fight to eliminate inequity in public education and our communities.
Just over five years ago, we developed our African American Achievement and Equity Committee to build in this type of reflection all year long and to ensure that all of the scholars we serve have the necessary resources to be successful in college, leadership, and life. With this added support, our schools have doubled down on programs that prioritize the wellbeing of African American students, including mentorship opportunities and the creation of Black Student Unions and Advisories.
Our work to amplify and support Black excellence are key to the Reimagine 2025 work outlined in our strategic plan. Together, we will use this month to celebrate and recognize Black excellence across our schools and to reflect on the ways we can better celebrate and leverage the cultural capital of our Black students.
This month, we chose some of our best stories that highlight our commitment to our Black students and community throughout the year.
How We Prioritize Achievement and Equity for African American Students in L.A.
Kris Terry, who serves as our African American Achievement and Equity director for our schools in Los Angeles, is tackling disparities and achievement gaps that challenge and adversely impact our students. “African American students are having a different schooling experience than their non-black peers,” Terry said. “We are listening to the voices of our black students, families, and educators to determine what is at the heart of the outcomes and how we address these underlying issues and causes with our students and families.”
Green Dot Alum Reflects on First Year Attending an HBCU
Shi’Ann Castle, a Los Angeles native, intends to be the first person in her family to attend and graduate college. Now, she is studying psychology at Stillman College, a historically black college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is roughly 60 miles southwest of Birmingham.
Teaching for Change: How This Ánimo Legacy Educator Encourages Students to Achieve
Teaching at a transformation school has unique challenges. But for one South Los Angeles educator, serving at a transformation school has helped her develop into an empathetic educator.
15 Years of Helping Students Turn Their Dreams into Realities
For the last 15 years, Romel Nusdorfer has taught English at Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School. It’s just not her love for English and writing that has kept Nusdorfer in the classroom for over a decade, but a desire to help students find their purpose
Leading by Example: Meet Ánimo Inglewood’s New Principal
In 2013, LaShawn Allen began leading at Ánimo Inglewood as an assistant principal. Familiar with the community, students, and the school’s 20-year mission, She is excited to continue the legacy of excellence at Ánimo Inglewood. Allen sat down to talk with us about Ánimo Inglewood, her leadership style, and what our parents, stakeholders, community members can expect this fall.