School Spotlight: Breck’s Advanced History Program
Breck School is offering students the opportunity to get out of the classroom to do advanced research. The Golden Valley school’s advanced history class is analyzing race and culture in Minnesota.
The advanced history class s one of three upper level research programs at Breck School. For the most part, students work on their own. This year’s topic is race and place– the coloring of the Twin Cities.
“It’s all about asking the questions,” said instructor Johnny Nicholson. “Why is the Twin Cities area set up the way it is? Why do people live in certain parts of the Twin Cities?”
The class is small and students had to apply to take the course. The idea is to put students in front of history makers.
“We’ve interviewed and met with another of leaders throughout the Twin Cities areas—Mayor Rybak, Dr. Sam Myers at the University of Minnesota,” explained Nicholson.
Students selected their own topics, subjects like the migration of blacks in Minnesota in the 1800s, St. Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood and a host of other subjects.
Sydney Umanah is researching segregation. She is digging deep into the state’s large achievement gap and trying to determine how it happened.
“We also have increased segregation and I’m also looking at why after forced, legal, integration, we’re still having this problems,” said Umanah.
Student Gabe McHenry is focusing on the movie “The Birth of a Nation” and the resurgence of the KKK.
“Most surprised about how great the film is, like terrible, terrible terribly racist, did really bad things, but when you look at it as a piece of art,” said McHenry. “It was so revolutionary.”
The scholars think out the box and in the end show their findings during a presentation in May.