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Honoring Black History Month with Dr. Michelle Johnson

The celebration of February as Black History Month is an important piece of any school's calendar, but it is more than just a one-time event.  We sat down with NCAPCS Board Chair Dr. Michelle Johnson, Director of The Point College Prep and Leadership Academy in Jamestown, NC to learn more:

When you think of Black History Month, what do you envision?

I envision a celebration of all that we have learned throughout the year.  It’s not just 28 days of studying important figures, but the culmination of yearlong inclusion of the important, little-known African Americans in our history.


Why is Black History Month relevant to the charter community? 

Because we have a lot more freedom for innovation.  We have families who have chosen these particular schools, who have chosen our school.  When choosing the school they are choosing the curriculum that the school has, and if that curriculum is culturally diverse then they have made the choice for their scholars to learn about all people, not just African Americans.  It’s really about innovation, freedom, parent choice, and the ability for parents to do what is best for their community.


How does your school plan to celebrate Black History Month? 

Our school celebrates all year long.  Our school teaches Black History as American History and our scholars, particularly in February, continue viewing big performances, visiting museums, and watching even more movies and documentaries.  But it really is something that happens as a part of American History, from August to June!


Why is Black History Month important for today’s children? 

It’s American History.  Our scholars need to be well-rounded, well-read, well-informed and they need to see the beauty and the brilliance in all people.  Children don’t hold some of the preconceived notions or intolerances that adults have.  They are sponges.  They are forgiving.  They are inquisitive.  And they want to be around people who bring them joy.  They want to learn in a joyful manner regardless of background, ethnicity, or any of the other beautiful differences that exist in our world.


What can be gained by celebrating Black History Month as a school?   

For schools that are less diverse, it will expose their scholars to important people and events in history.  For more diverse schools it will build self-esteem and confidence in their scholars, which helps them all around – academically, socially and emotionally.

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