Gator Parents,

We are so very proud of our #ologawesome student’s and staff and today provides just another wonderful example!

Our OLOG School Community’s multi-cultural diversity is something we celebrate and has become a hallmark of our school community!

Today, our wonderful ESL Teacher, Mrs. Harris, and several students were honoured for the great learning & great conversations taking place. February is Black Heritage Month and Mrs. Harris and our students are kicking off a new curriculum resource designed to ignite a new and powerful narrative!

Way To Go Gators!

Waterloo Region teacher creates Black curriculum to empower students

By Laura BoothRecord Reporter

Thu., Feb. 11, 2021timer2 min. read

WATERLOO REGION — Lorraine Harris wants Black students to feel empowered when they learn about their heritage.

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board teacher has created a curriculum that looks to connect students with pre-colonial Africa when kings and queens ruled.

“I believe that Black heritage taught from this perspective, or in this context, will not only uplift the self-esteem and self-expectation of Black youth but also garner the respect and admiration of their non-Black peers,” said Harris, who has worked as a teacher for more than 20 years.

She wants to connect Black youth to where their story begins, rather than focusing on the history of slavery.

“We’re at a place where people are sick of racism and they’re tired and that narrative often is embarrassing for young kids,” she said, adding it’s important to explore what happened before slavery.

“This curriculum seeks to disrupt the narrative of the traditional negative Black stereotypes by connecting the youth to a time when their ancestors were kings and queens; African royalty.”

The newly created curriculum called, “My Place in this World,” has the goal of helping students develop a sense of self and belonging in the world. This starts in the classroom, said Harris.

Harris collaborated with The Guelph Black Heritage Society to put together the curriculum which caters to students from Grades 1 to 8 with a high school curriculum coming soon.

“It is designed to meet teachers where they are without a special need for previous knowledge in this area of study,” she said, adding the curriculum comes in a virtual format.

The curriculum can be taught year-round and meets the Ontario Ministry of Education’s curriculum expectations, aligns with the provincial education equity action plan and complements school board wellness initiatives, said Harris.

Harris has also ensured the curriculum works across subjects such as math, social science, art and language.

School boards and private schools in the province can purchase the curriculum, which will be available to educators with the local Catholic school board at the end of the month.

“It took courage for me to come this far and even write this curriculum; it’s taken courage for me to do a lot of things because I too have been affected by the systemic effect of racism,” she said.

“Knowing about my culture, knowing about my heritage — it’s powerful and it’s empowering.”