BSU leaders from the district’s comprehensive high schools attend a School Board meeting.

Over the past few months, Bellevue School District students have shared various examples of how they shape more equitable and welcoming spaces for all students through their leadership and advocacy.

Inclusive Curriculum

At the January 11, 2024, meeting of the Board of Directors, two Bellevue High School (BHS) students – Swafiya Twahir and Tendo Lumala – shared their work to support the district’s commitment to culturally responsive curriculum and instructional goals. Policy 0130, states that the district will adopt curriculum and teaching and learning strategies that leverage, reflect and affirm the unique experiences and social, racial, cultural, linguistic and familial backgrounds of the Bellevue School District.

In collaboration with the Teaching and Learning department, Swafiya and Tendo, leaders of the BHS Black Student Union and co-presidents of BHS Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR), have developed inclusive curriculum for the Washington state history unit for fourth grade students. Researching, writing and developing relevant content, the students found ways to incorporate into the existing curriculum, the story of William Owen Bush, the first Black settler and representative in Washington state.

Learn more and listen to their presentation to the School Board.

Advocacy and Community Building

At the February 8, 2024, meeting of the Board of Directors, students representing Black Student Unions (BSUs) at the district’s four comprehensive high schools, alongside their advisors and school leaders, shared a presentation about the key efforts they lead. These scholars and leaders included Tendo Lumala and Swafiya Twahir from BHS, Kylie Shuman from Newport High School (NHS), Rhiana Hogan and Naomi Samson from Sammamish High School (SHS) and Mansour Abdulmalik from Interlake High School (IHS).

At NHS, members of the BSU helped their fellow students become more aware and informed during Black History Month. They requested the Board consider ways to help BIPOC students in the district become better connected with opportunities for college and career.

BHS BSU members created activities for a week of action to create community and highlight the experiences of Black students at BHS. They requested the Board to consider that many BIPOC students live outside the district and have barriers to access for tutorial and academic support.

SHS BSU’s mission is to bring healing to students at SHS. Through student workshops they have focused on mental health and advocacy for Black students. They requested the Board consider ways to incorporate texts and materials that reflect the Black experience into existing units and incorporate more Black authors and books in school libraries.

IHS BSU shared about the cohesive and united Black student community at IHS. Students support and connect across grade levels and seek out ways to have their voices heard.

Listen to the student presentations to the School Board.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.