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Martin Luther King Events

The Ramsey School District identifies Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day of utmost importance to our nation, so significant attention was paid to talking to students about injustice, the importance of the Civil Rights movement, and ways in which they could honor the legacy of Dr. King.

As part of Martin Luther King Day, and as a way to foster the ideals supported by the national “Day of Service," Ramsey High School scheduled a special advisory period during which community volunteers from over 15 organizations spoke with RHS students about why they serve and their experience with community service. These organizations included local Ramsey community organizations such as the Ramsey Public Education Foundation and Ramsey Rescue. Other organizations included Special Olympics, Pony Power, Center for Food Action, Heros on the Water, Oasis, Stigma Free and Save the Children. Students brainstormed ways the Ramsey High School Community could provide opportunities for service/volunteering and shared what inspires them to serve. A well-attended volunteer fair took place during the lunch period, giving students an opportunity to individually connect with local organizations.

Eric S. Smith Middle School welcomed Living Voices, a theatrical company that focuses on bringing historical events to life. The performer, Brian Simmons, told the story of “Ray” from a first-person perspective while live footage of pivotal events in the Civil Rights Movement played behind him. The discussion that followed provided an opportunity for students to reflect on what they saw and ask questions. Middle School Students also raised money to donate to Ramsey Responds as a way to honor Dr. King’s dedication to his community.

In addition to these special programs, social studies classes in all grades investigated the Civil Rights Movement at developmentally appropriate levels. For example, high school students delved into the current state of race relations and social injustice on a national and global scale. Eighth grade students continued their study of bias and the “danger of a single story”. Sixth grade students were involved in a research project focused on a specific aspect of the Civil Rights Movement of their choosing. Elementary School students engaged in a variety of activities, including reading books about Martin Luther King, Jr., analyzing the use of powerful words, participating in centers that taught them about inequality and the Civil Rights Movement and making a peace quilt. Many lessons were curriculum embedded and incorporated other individuals who fought for equality, such as Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.