African American history class to be added to school curriculum


Courtesy of Anaiyah Crone

New Course Proposed Anaiyah Crone, proposer of the new class, holds a book about African American History.

Jocelyn Fetter, Reporter

A new African American history class is to be added to the 2021-2022 school year. The class was proposed by sophomore Anaiyah Crone this school year. 

I got this inspiration from my step-dad before he passed. He used to be really big on black history month and learning about my history background. [What] I really want students to take from this class [is] that we are all equal, and when we say ‘Black Lives Matter’ we don’t mean we are better than other people: we just want to be equal,” Crone said. 

Crone plans on taking this class when it is available and hopes other students will take the class as well. American studies and teen law teacher Carolyn Kline will most likely be the only one teaching the class, but that may change next year. 

We are waiting to view a planned curriculum that the Philadelphia school district already uses. They have had this class, I believe Mr. Hatch said, since 2006. I would imagine that the curriculum would include learning about African history and culture, the institution of slavery in America and the long term ramifications of that institution,” Kline said. 

Although Kline hasn’t started teaching the class, she already has an idea of what the class would entail and how she would like to teach the course. 

“I would also like to highlight notable African Americans in history, as they do not often get the notoriety that they deserve. The class would also cover contemporary issues, which could be very interesting with debate and discussion.”

For Kline, she sees this as an important class for all students and hopes this class influences students of all ethnicities.

“I think the students can look forward to being in a class where we will all be learning somewhat together, where varying opinions will all be respected and where we will highlight people, ideas and culture that have been more often overlooked,” Kline said. I think it will help students realize that AAHS is here for all students, and we value each person. I would love to see this class being taken by students from different ethnic backgrounds, so that we can encourage diversity and improve cultural awareness.”

Crone will be working closely with the school for this class and plans on making it a half-year elective. 

“I hope this curriculum covers the past and not just MLK or Rosa Parks. I want it to be much deeper. I would like it to cover current events, such as what happened to George Floyd and have a lot of debates and talks about our opinions,” Crone said. 

The high school has never offered a class like this one before. When the eight period day was introduced, Kline suggested a class on diversity in history–this class is a similar idea. Kline shares that this is a huge responsibility for her, but she is also excited. 

“I feel a combination of honor but also am scared. I obviously recognize somewhat the hypocrisy of a white teacher teaching a class about African American history and culture, and that’s why I will not be afraid to say when I don’t know certain things, and won’t be afraid to ask my students some possibly difficult questions. I will also have to develop the planned course over the summer and I have never done that before, so that’s a hurdle, but one that I am also looking forward to researching and completing,” Kline said. 

Kline sees this class as an opportunity for both herself and her students to learn and experience new ideas that they may not have recognized before. For Kline, this class brings diversity to the school.

“As educators, we also have a love for learning, and I am looking forward to that. I think there are voices here who have felt that they have not been heard or valued, and I think this class will address some of that. I think it also recognizes the shift occurring in the American population and is reflective of that,” Kline said. “In general, I think diversity of all kinds is beneficial in individual growth as a person as well as in education. The amount of electives that students can take here at AAHS is unmatched in our area, and I hope that our student body takes advantage of the classes that are offered. Find your own niche!”