District 88 celebrates Black History Month

To view photo captions, click on the images above.

District 88 is proud to have a diverse school community – the district has 51 languages and more than 30 countries represented among its families, and almost half of the nearly 4,000 students at District 88 speak a language other than English at home. District 88’s core values include ensuring all students, staff and community members feel safe, valued, respected and welcome.

As part of this effort, the district continues to enhance its focus on excellence for all and culturally responsive/trauma-informed teaching to meet the needs of students. Each February, District 88 hosts events/activities to recognize Black History Month, and the district offered many opportunities again this year to honor this important month.

In a remarkable display of unity and celebration, students from Willowbrook’s Black Organization for Student Success (BOSS) and Addison Trail’s BEYOND club (which provides mentorship and academic support for black students to enable them to thrive holistically in high school and BEYOND) collaborated this year. The intent of this innovative “BEYOND BOSS” initiative was to amplify the voices and experiences of black students, while fostering a sense of community and pride within the schools.  

Addison Trail Student Success Coordinator VaLarie Humphrey worked with the groups to host the events below throughout the month.

  • A cultural experience: On Feb. 15, District 88 students participated in an enriching field trip to Harold Washington Cultural Center in Chicago, where they were treated to the inspiring “Lean On Me” Live Theatrical Education Adaptation. The performance served as a poignant reminder of the resilience, creativity and contributions of Black people throughout history, which sparked meaningful discussions and reflections.

  • A decorative contest: BEYOND BOSS hosted a districtwide HBCU door decoration competition, where teachers were encouraged to adorn their classroom doors with representations of one of the 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This event highlighted the rich legacy and diversity of HBCUs and encouraged students to explore higher education opportunities and envision their futures.

  • Future-focused sessions: Throughout February, Humphrey met with District 88 pupils to discuss planning for the future. She shared tips and advice to find success after high school, as well as information about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

  • Celebrating Black History Month: Addison Trail and Willowbrook hosted a spirit week from Feb. 26 to 29 for students to embrace their heritage/identity and to unite students and educators in a shared commitment to honor Black History Month (click on the image above for details).

“Black History Month holds profound significance in our educational community,” Humphrey said. “Beyond mere recognition, Black History Month fosters essential conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, encouraging students and educators to explore the complexities of race, identity and social justice. Through engaging activities, events and initiatives, Black History Month provides a platform to amplify marginalized voices, challenge stereotypes and inspire collective action toward a more equitable and just society. By embracing the lessons and legacies of Black history, we empower our students to become informed, empathetic and socially responsible citizens, capable of shaping a brighter future for all.”

More information about Black History Month can be found at https://blackhistorymonth.gov.