Main Menu

Explore More


Fridley Public Schools
2 groups of 4 students each stand on stage and read from a script.

Fridley Public Schools culminated its monthlong celebration of Black History Month in February with an assembly broadcast live throughout the district on Tuesday, February 28. The program, held in the District Auditorium at Fridley High School (FHS), honored Black culture through song, dance, poetry, and more. February has been nationally recognized as Black History Month since 1976.

“The assembly allows students to learn, celebrate, and honor history,” said Aloda Sims, equity and inclusion specialist at Fridley Middle School (FMS).

The livestreamed event featured presentations from students across the district, including a showcase of traditional African dance by FHS students, profiles of prominent Black historical figures such as John Lewis and Claudette Colvin by FMS students, a video piece highlighting the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on Hayes Elementary students, and a drumming performance by Stevenson Elementary 4th grader Jay Cooper.

“Student voices mean a lot to our district,” Sims observed. “Seeing all of the performers create space for other students to follow speaks volumes for our community."

Mother sitting at a table in a library with her 5th grade daughter and 4 year old son.

Earlier in the month on February 6, Hayes Elementary, Stevenson Elementary and FMS invited parents and guardians to have lunch with their students in recognition of National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID). NAAPID was created in 1995 by Joe Dulin, an educator and principal from Ann Arbor Public Schools, as a call to action to get parents more involved in their students’ education.

For some parents and guardians it was their first experience seeing their scholars in a school setting and meeting their friends. TaShana Nelson, mother to 5th grade FMS student Daviana Starks, said, “It’s nice to be able to drop in and see her in her own element.”

Students were equally excited to share their school day with their parents. “It’s really fun for all of us to be together in the school,” said Camila Gonzalez, 1st grade student at Hayes Elementary.

Many parents like Yahtia Taylor, mother to Hayes 4th grader Yahniece, emphasized the significance of the event as both a teaching and bonding opportunity for their families. “We have to come through for our kids,” she said. “This is important to them.”

Two elementary students sitting in the cafeteria with food trays of gumbo in front of them.

Fridley Public Schools’ Nutritional Services department served meals traditionally enjoyed in Black communities throughout the month of February, featuring three new dishes including Jollof rice with jerk chicken, chicken and beef andouille sausage gumbo, and collard greens with chicken tenders and mac and cheese.

“I had a 2nd grade student at Hayes run up and tell me that her mom makes gumbo all the time at home, and she couldn't believe we were having it at school,” said Katie Joyce, nutrition coordinator at Fridley Public Schools. “You could tell she felt proud to have a food she loves shared with her classmates. I hope other students felt that same pride.”

All meals honoring Black History Month were chosen by a group of Fridley students to ensure each dish celebrated their unique cultures and traditions.

“Nutrition staff recognize the impact they have on the students they serve,” Joyce said. “They were excited to try some new recipes that we now hope to incorporate into our year-round menu.”

The video below is a condensed version of the original livestream of the Black History Month districtwide assembly.