SPS’s Black History Summer Academy Goes Virtual & Open to the Public

The COVID-19 outbreak may have caused a lot of things connected to Springfield Public Schools to be canceled, but it couldn’t stop the Black History Summer Academy.

The program, which began in 1995, was launched by a group of black men who came together to create an educational experience for Springfield students. The group, called Ebony Men on a Mission, sought to increase the awareness of historic black experiences within the community.

“Usually we have about 200 students attend our Black History Summer Academy each night, but with the virtual piece, I’m sure we have superseded that,” Gwen Marshall, equity and diversity specialist with Springfield Public Schools, said in a statement. “People are sharing what we’re posting on Facebook, and the impact and reach is limitless of these resources.”

The 2020 edition of the Academy is being made open to everyone through a public Facebook group. The goal is increase the amount of community voices in the program for the students.

Each day, a local leader will post resources, articles, stories, or other educational items for both students and parents. The parents are encouraged to discuss the lessons with their children and share their thoughts.

“This work is important because the history of Black and African Americans is U.S. and world history,” Dr. Yvania Garcia-Pusateri, chief equity and diversity officer at SPS, said in a statement. “It is important for our students to learn about the significant contributions of the black community, which is not just in a U.S. context but also on a global scale. I wish I had this opportunity when I was younger.”

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