District has “exemplary” rating in teaching African American history; Task force created to ensure it stays that way

February 10, 2020- For the last three years, Duval County Public Schools has been recognized for its exemplary distinction under the state’s African American History legislation.

While the state recently commemorated its 25th year of the legislation, Duval County is vying to remain on the list with nine other school districts that have earned this distinction for their commitment to African American History instruction in the classrooms.

Launching this effort during Black History Month, the district is working to make stronger strides to commit to this effort by organizing a team to implement a plan and to set goals, while operating under the statewide African American History Taskforce.

“You can’t be, what you can’t see,” said Senator Tony Hill. “African American history is an avenue of educating our children above those who have gone before us,” Hill said.

Senator Hill works with the statewide leaders on this initiative to make sure the districts that have applied for this distinction are working to keep their ‘exemplary district status.’

This year, Duval County Public Schools has created a preliminary plan to bring awareness, strategies, resources, and leadership to the teaching African American History and providing professional development and additional strategies, peer collaboration and resources to educators.

“Duval county is an ‘exemplary school district’ and we want to bring the task force presence to a local level,” Senator Hill added. “This is going to encourage other counties to follow.”

The district must meet the following criteria to apply to remain an “Exemplary School District”: the school board approval of the African American History initiative, structured professional development, African American studies curriculum, structured teaching of the African American History curriculum, university and school district collaboration,  parents and community partnerships, and approval by the state’s Task Force on African American History.

Executive Director of High Schools for Duval County Public Schools, Kenneth Reddick said, “I think it’s very important that every district, not just in Duval County, has a task force that focuses on increasing students’ knowledge and contributions of African Americans. Reddick said there is a lot of history right here in Jacksonville and across the country that students have not learned about in the classroom. “This task force is going to be a bridge to increase awareness throughout the district,” he added.

The district’s preliminary plan aims to ensure that the required Florida African American History is implemented.  As part of the initiative, the local task force has publicized the draft plan to increase awareness of district efforts, provide an opportunity for community input, and encourage dialogue and collaboration as the plan is implemented.

“We are starting the organizational process to build the foundation for this task force to have our goals align with the goals of the state of Florida’s task force goals. We want to increase awareness beyond one month, but all throughout the school year in all k-12 content areas,” said Reddick.

The first meeting will be held on February 27, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the admin building, room 613.

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