Planning for Black History Month? Here’s some inspiration.

School leaders like you frequently share the importance of centering Black history and Black identities in your school culture year-round. And every Black History Month, you and your team members find creative ways to shine an extra spotlight on Black stories. 

As you and your teachers work to solidify your plans for this year’s Black History Month, here are some ways school communities like yours can embrace joy, celebration and continuous learning:

1. Join in the National African American Read-In.

Explore NCTE’s toolkit for hosting an African American Read-In. You can find a list of reading material and inspiration for elevating Black voices in your school community, whether you want to invite in a Black author to speak at your school or just block out some reading time on the school calendar.

2. Make a community video spotlighting local history.

By inviting Black alumni to speak directly to current students via video, educators Laurence McGhee and Allison Rotola offered their students a vision of Black excellence growing from their own communities. Find out how they went about highlighting their school district alumni – including custodians, teachers, lawyers, doctors and athletes.

3. Try fresh routines in your whole school community or within classrooms.

Principal Kimberly Ellis makes Black History Month special for her school community through trivia during morning announcements, “blind book dates” and other creative ideas. Learn more about her favorite ways to inspire her students.

Teacher Adrienne Wiggins shares why she loves Black History Month and walks fellow teachers through the ways she adjusts her classroom routines and engages her students in explorations, read-alouds and interactive bulletin boards. Explore her approach and consider sharing it with your staff for inspiration.

4. Plan a curriculum audit to see how Black history shows up in your school community year-round.

Black History Month offers an occasion to check in with your staff about the way Black history is represented throughout the curriculum, across disciplines, all year long. Consider inviting teachers to read some of the resources below, and follow up with a staff meeting conversation or audit to ensure your students are learning about the full spectrum of Black experiences. 

Learning for Justice on Teaching the Complete History

Edutopia on Highlighting Black History All Year, in Every Discipline

Achieve the Core on Elevating Black Brilliance

5. Reflect on the ways you’re supporting Black teachers.

For EdPost, leader Sharif El-Mekki explores survey findings that show what it looks like when school leaders fully support Black teachers. Check out his reflections and guidance, alongside a wealth of embedded links pointing you toward further learning.

6. Fill the walls with celebration and learning opportunities.

Every year, we’re inspired by the ways you and your teachers transform your spaces to affirm and celebrate Black history. Here is a handful of inspiration from school communities like yours!

Periodic Table of Black History, from teacher Mr. Bedford

A doorway to inspiration, from Leader Cynthia Strickland Jewel:

An interactive display, co-created by students and educator Jonathan Gustin:

A “Histagram” from leader Tarri Jones:

While each piece of inspiration from your fellow leaders could play a valuable role in your Black History Month celebrations, the learning shouldn’t end there. Consider how these strategies might fit into your school community all school year long!