School Board Approves Course on History of Haiti

School Board Approves Course on History and Contributions of Haiti
Posted on 10/22/2019
Students in a classroom

During the regular board meeting on October 16, the District School Board voted to approve a new course request to teach the History and Contributions of Haiti in a Global Context. The course will be available to students in grades 9-12, as an addition to the existing Social Studies curriculum. The course includes three key content areas, History of the Republic of Haiti, Human Geography, and Humanities. 


Students in the course will learn about the historical, geographic, political, economic, and sociological events that influenced the development of the Republic of Haiti and the resulting impact on world history. Particular focus will be on the triumph of the Haitian Revolution that led to the abolition of slavery and the establishment of Haiti as the first independent black republic in the world.


The initiative to create the course was driven by an assessment of the student demographics in the District, and a realization that course content was needed that spoke to additional segments of the student population. 


The request for approval document submitted to the Board outlined the justification for the course, noting that “currently our District offers African, African American, and Latin American History courses, but we have identified a need to create more courses that are similar and offer options at the honors level.”


“It is necessary to develop a curriculum that reflects our student demographic,” said Brian Knowles, manager of African, African American, Latino, and Gender Studies. “It is crucial that these students are able to see themselves in textbooks and instructional materials to offset the negative psychological effects of traditional curriculums that have marginalized the contributions of people of color. We need to expose students to the rich history and valuable contributions of our Haitian brothers and sisters in a global context.”


Haitian-American educators in the County also welcomed the new course initiative, noting the potential for a positive impact on students.


“We warmly applaud this initiative,” said Dr. Gérard Alphonse Férère, Professor Emeritus at Saint Joseph’s University, and an academic consultant for the School District. “It will help boost our Haitian-American students’ self-esteem and inform all students of the important contributions of Haiti to the history of the United States and the world.”


Once approved by the Florida Department of Education, the course will be available in all District high schools, allowing students to earn 0.5 credit upon course completion.

The School District of Palm Beach County