For this year’s Black History Month, the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion recognizes that Black history is the heart of our history. Throughout this month, we will offer resources in this newsletter and on social media that acknowledges this reality and uplifts past and present-day African American leaders and stories.
Each week, this newsletter will feature a history maker from the ADE African American Advisory Council, a community resource for students and families, a community event, and an educator resource. We look forward to celebrating this month with you!
African American Advisory Council: History Maker
Arizona’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, Kareem Neal, M.Ed.
Kareem Neal is a self-contained special education teacher in Phoenix, AZ. He has taught students with cognitive delays for 23 years. He is the recipient of the 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year award and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University for his contributions to special education in Arizona. Kareem is a 2019-2021 Understood Teacher Fellow. He is also on the Board of Directors for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Kareem’s passion is connecting all students in schools, springing from his awareness that students with learning differences did not truly feel like members of their school communities. This led him to evaluate his own educational journey and how students in black communities often did not feel like education spaces were for them. He is now a restorative justice trainer for the Phoenix Union High School District. He focuses on building community through eliminating bias that comes from a lack of connection with people who are different from each other. This work has led him to win the Arizona Education Association’s Diversity Grant and the Maryvale Revitalization Committee’s Educator Excellence Award and being named vice president of the Phoenix Union High School District’s Black Alliance.
Kareem’s academic journey was filled with adults who let him know that he was capable, which he attributes to being a lifetime learner. Too many students aren’t afforded that same opportunity, and Kareem is working tirelessly to change that.
Community Resources for Students and Families
Black History Month Resource Guide for Educators and Families
The Center for Racial Justice in Education believes that the histories, stories, and voices of Black people should be centered, honored, and uplifted in school curricula every day. These resources will help educators and families acknowledge the importance and origins of Black History Month while also providing tools to integrate Black history and experiences throughout all curricula. See a full list of resources HERE.
FREE: Langston Hughes Project Virtual Concert
Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 5:30 PM – Registration: https://www.scottsdalecc.edu/news/2021/celebrating-black-history-month-langston-hughes-project.
The Ron McCurdy Quartet will perform Langston Hughes’ 12-part epic poem, “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz” in a concert that is accessible online. According to the event’s website, “This concert performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of Ask Your Mama’s people, places, and events, as well as to the visual artists Langston Hughes admired or collaborated with over the course of his career.”
Those interested can register to join on Scottsdale Community College’s website. The concert will be available to watch live and on-demand afterward. The virtual event is hosted by Scottsdale Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and Mesa Community College.
Diverse Texts – Creating a More Inclusive Curriculum Webinar
As part of this webinar, participants will learn how to use the ADE Diverse Texts guidance to help you to create a more inclusive curriculum in your secondary ELA Classroom, and how to start a conversation in your classroom, school, and district. Please feel free to review the guidance beforehand as we will be spending time with it during this webinar: https://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/secondary-literacy-middlehs (under the blue bar that says "Diverse Texts"). Participants will earn 1-hour of PD credit for attending this webinar. A Zoom link will be individually emailed to registrants on the day of the webinar.
There are five dates for the webinar. Each start at 3:00 PM (MST) Register HERE.
- February 17, 2021
- March 4, 2021