February is designated as Black History Month across the continent. To give special attention to this assignation, the high school students dedicated an all-school gathering to learning more about Black figures in U.S. history.
To open the Zoom meeting, high school Humanities instructor David Weber spoke on the importance of studying Black history in our country and shared with the school the many ways this acknowledgment is integrated into the curriculum well before and beyond the month of February. "Many educators believe that every month is black history month," he said, "We subscribe to that approach here at San Francisco Waldorf High School."
Students chose and presented a historical figure in U.S. history based on their particular interests. Take a look at the clips below:
Mikal Ennis on Gladys Bentley
Aidan Sondheimer on Thurgood Marshall
As Black History Month comes to a close, Music instructor and Jazz Band director Phillip Greenlief offers his reflection on how the study of Black history is not left for a short period of time each year but an integral part of the music curriculum all year long:
"Black history has been integrated into jazz ensemble discussions and repertoire every day, every month, every year since I started teaching here in 2006. Over the past 10 years, the works of African-American composers have been examined in the orchestra. We also explore the music of India, Cambodia, Russia, the Balkans, Persia, and other countries and cultures in both classes through the listening assignments I assign. Every three weeks, the students listen to two tracks and give written feedback that responds to critical questions I offer as a way of deepening their understanding of the work. Tomorrow, I'll be presenting compositions by Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk for my students. They will be able to see the scores of the works I'll be playing, and I'll discuss the particular elements of composition and improvisation that make these composers unique."