‘We’ve got more to do:’ DCPS African American History task force sets out to improve curriculum

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A task force designed a year ago at Duval County Public Schools is working to develop an improved curriculum that ensures African American history be taught inside and out of the classroom.

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The African American History Task Force — which is made up of district leaders, teachers, students and parents — looks to weave the histories of minority groups into all kinds of lessons, not just history class.

Over the past week, diversity and inclusion within the district has taken center stage as peaceful demonstrations have formed at several schools and in front of district headquarters.

Students told Action News Jax they’re looking for concrete change in the way Black history is taught within the district, requesting a “seat at the table.”

“We’ve seen the things that have happened this week, and we want to make sure we grow from this, learn from it and move forward,” Erin Conklin, supervisor of K-12 social studies and a task force member, said.

“We realized — we have got more to do and we really want to encourage our students to apply to be part of our task force.”

Students are welcome to get involved with the task force, which meets regularly.

TiLena Robinson, a secondary social studies specialist and task force member, said, “This has always been a passion of mine. Making sure that all students — not just African American students — but all students are learning about the history of African Americans and the contributions they have made.”

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Robinson said they’re trying to make strides in incorporating local Jacksonville history in their studies, including working with the Cummer Museum and Ritz in LaVilla.

The task force is also working to include extracurricular activities for students and diversity training and professional development for teachers.