FISD African American Studies Course


Leonie Manafa

Frisco ISD will begin offering a new course for the 2021-2022 school year called African American Studies. This class will be offered to incoming sophomores, juniors, and seniors as a social studies elective. 

Even though there is limited knowledge about the content of this course, it is known that district officials will meet for three weeks during the summer to create the curriculum. 

Independence High School Social Studies Instructional Coach, Amy Jones, described a bit about who was consulted in the initial planning of this class. 

“Professors of African American Studies and History were contacted as well as districts who already had the course to acquire information about the best way to set up the curriculum.This was done to make sure that the curriculum is as rich and insightful as possible,” said Jones.

According to the Frisco ISD Course Catalog, African American Studies will cover the history and cultural contributions of African Americans in America.The course strives to develop an understanding of the historical roots of African American culture as it pertains to the social, economic, and political climate of the U.S. as a whole.  

Director of the Black Student Union and IHS Counselor, Sasha Maryland, shared some of her thoughts about the reason the course was added. 

“The motivation for the installment of this class is inclusion. I’m certain that the often devastating history of the African American people will be handled with care,” said Maryland. 

Maryland went on to discuss the positive contributions she believes a course focused on African Americans will have on the school community as a whole.  

“The black experience is so unique and has been shaped by so many events in history. From slavery, to the Jim Crow Era, to the Civil Rights Movement. When we have all these stories from these events brought to light,we can truly have a culture of understanding and empathy.”

IHS Freshman, Jaedyn Kirvin, expressed his thoughts on the class and the impact it could have on students of color at his school.

“I think this class is a great idea. As a person of color, I would definitely consider taking it to learn more about my history. I feel that this class might lead to an improved observance of periods such as Black History Month, so that African American students will feel a little more heard and seen for years to come,” said Kirvin. 

Another IHS freshman, Azariah Berry, shared her opinions on what she hopes to see from this class. This included careful selection of the teachers meant to teach the course. She also expressed her hope that new stories of African American people that are not often taught about will be brought to light. 

The installment of the African American Studies course is a large step for Frisco ISD in the constant push for better racial and cultural awareness. 

“We hope that students will learn about a history to be celebrated and respected after taking this course,” said Jones.