March is truly the month for Holocaust education. History classes explore World War II and its aftermath, literature classes read Night and Number the Stars, and Civics classes explore the role of citizens in different forms of government. With so many opportunities to tie into curricular offerings, it’s no wonder that our Becoming One Human Family (BOHF) program is in high demand. In the next three weeks, we are scheduled in four different schools and will reach over 1000 students.
Looking back at the development of this program, it amazes me how quickly it has grown. When we first developed the concept of an “in-school field trip”, the team expected challenges with school schedules and administration buy-in. So, trained facilitators to ensure that teachers would not need to put one more thing on their plate. We made the program schedule extra flexible to accommodate different school needs. We created diverse breakout sessions to make sure we aligned with the school’s desired outcomes for the program. We put out flyers and emails. We contacted teachers with whom we had worked before. And we waited.
Over 75 different educators have embraced the BOHF program and carried it into their schools and classrooms.
During the first year of BOHF, we held programs in six schools. The next year the number jumped to eight, most of them in March and April. Word spread and schools from all over North Carolina and areas of South Carolina reached out to see if we were offering the program in their area. Schools who already hosted a BOHF program invited us back. This year we are on track to hold fifteen programs in twelve schools. Two of those schools asked us to work with them over the summer to design a three tiered BOHF program so that they can offer the sessions to 6th, 7th, and 8th grades every year without repeating content. Individual teachers contacted us about additional resources and opportunities for further exploration of the lessons of the Holocaust.
I am absolutely floored by the rapid growth of Becoming One Human Family! It is exciting to be part of something that works so well within the context of public education these days. As I sit here writing, I realize a very important thing I need everyone to know: the teachers in these schools are amazing! Over 75 different educators have embraced the BOHF program and carried it into their schools and classrooms. These teachers have planned, navigated paperwork, adjusted personal schedules, and convinced reluctant principals in order to reach their students with this opportunity. They want their classrooms and schools to be places where antisemitism, racism, and all forms of bigotry have no place. The Stan Greenspon Center may have created the program but the teachers, the marvelous teachers, elevated it into what it is today. I can’t even imagine what the next three years will bring, but I am excited to be part of it!