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Bernards Schools Recognize King Holiday in Class and Special Activities

Multiple grade levels in Bernards schools learn about Dr. King rather than just having a day off.

Bernards Schools Recognize King Holiday in Class and Special Activities
While the motivation for removing the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday from Bernards Township schools' calendar may have been to shorten the school year, the result has been that district students each year have been recognizing the slain civil rights leader in an educational forum.

Kristin Fox, social studies supervisor for the entire kindergarten through high school district, said the township's six schools made many plans to honor Dr. King on Monday and in the coming weeks.  

In grades kindergarten through grade five, she said, teachers on Monday were incorporating a book or lesson of their choosing which focuses on one of the many themes associated with King and his philosophies.

That includes the ideas of community service, learning, education and peaceful protest, Fox said.

Some of the lessons are part of longer term projects and/or upcoming assemblies while others are a stand-alone lesson for Monday, she said.

In the secondary grades, all students in the required Social Studies courses will discuss King and the same themes on Monday, she said. 

"Teachers will make connections to the individual courses they teach, but will also aim to commemorate his importance in our nation's history," Fox said.

Full day program for eighth graders at William Annin

As has been a longstanding tradition at the William Annin Middle School, students in grade eight again will participate in an all-day program centered around the civil rights movement and King. 

The students were to watch the film, "The Ernest Green Story," and participate in activities throughout the day, Fox said.

That program includes hearing from current and former staff members about their recollections of life during the civil rights movement, Fox said.
At Ridge High School, School Principal Frank Howlett commemorated the day by discussing the importance of Dr. King in the nation's history, she siad. 

The SAT word of the day all week will be related to these same themes, Fox said.

She added that one of the high school's service clubs, Small Steps Big Difference, is working on a longer term art project, with the hopes that it will be completed some time in February and display in the high school. The display would recognize King, his philosophy and his many contributions to the civil rights movement, Fox said.

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