AISD offers African American studies elective at three high schools

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “African American history is U.S. history”, AP History Teacher at Tascosa High School, Susan Brown, said.

Brown was one of the first teachers in the district selected to teach a new African American studies elective.

“I started reading, I attended lots of webinars and able to get some training so I’m certainly learning along with my students as well,” Brown added.

The curriculum, modeled after a course taught in Dallas Independent School District, explores the culture and history of African Americans. In April of 2020, the State Board of Education gave final approval on the elective allowing all schools to offer it. This school year, AISD made it an available elective at Palo Duro, Amarillo, and Tascosa high schools.

“Everything we’re seeing right before our eyes even outside of the classroom how does that help you be able to not only teach this class but have those open conversations with your students.”

Brown said, “It’s important to have those conversations we do have those conversations I think that the movements we seen unfold in my own lifetime off and on, help to understand our nation’s history.”

Senior, Elsaiah Cruz, said she feels lucky to be able to take the elective during her last year at Tascosa High School.

“I mean you learn about the small portions of African American history in other classes but this is a chance to actually get to understand,” Cruz explained.

Cruz is also using her senior year to inspire her peers to take the elective.

“I get to talk to other people about it and I get to introduce them to this class because its still not out there as much as I’d like it to be,” Cruz added.

The African American studies elective is available to all grade levels at the participating schools. Brown said AISD is looking to add a Mexican American Studies elective which was the first ethnic studies course approved by the State Board of Education.

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