Our Story Project
The Our Story Project is made up of 9th to 12th-grade scholars from across the Buffalo School District. A culturally and linguistically responsive teaching curriculum is used as the framework for this program so that scholars learn about their own history, social justice, and are able to see themselves in the curriculum. Hip-hop literacy and technology skills are also embedded into the program to promote scholars' voices in advocating for social justice and 21st-century skills. Additionally, scholars take part in leadership development opportunities and culturally relevant field excursions, both local and out of state, all of which support scholars with achieving their own academic and personal commitment goals.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Our Story Project Educators, Administrators, and Scholars!
The Our Story Project is a Grand Prize Winner for the National School Boards Association 2023 Magna Award!
The Office of CLRI is looking forward to another exciting year with our Our Story Project Scholars! Featured events this year include: Buffalo State College Tour, immersive cultural experience in Cleveland, Ohio, painting workshop with Paint the Town, and theater performances at Ujima Theater.
Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, the Our Story Scholars focused on telling their own story in a modality of their choosing. Through a variety of immersive experiences, such as theatrical experiences, workshops, and field excursions, scholars learned about their own histories, legacies, and culture's contributions and greatness, as well as those of other's cultures. The phenomenal work of these scholars culminated with a presentation of their scholarly work in March 2022 and a cultural field excursion to Washington, D.C. in April 2022.
The success demonstrated by each scholar’s deep, rigorous, and engaging learning culminates with the presentation and showcase of their final project which highlights their own personal story, history, culture, and identity. Scholars are encouraged to use multiple modalities to present their projects including writing, spoken word, and art. Scholars also hone their public speaking skills as they present these final projects at an official ceremony attended by a multitude of district stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, central office staff, board members, and community members.
Throughout the program, Our Story Project Scholars engaged in culturally responsive curriculum and activities connected to the arts at the Burchfield-Penny Art Gallery and the African American Cultural Center.
In April 2022, the scholars engaged in an immersive, hands-on field excursion to our nation's capital, in Washington D.C.
In the 2020-2021 school year, Our Story Scholars engaged in deep conversations about historical influences on current events, including that of the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. The scholars also read and discussed the student version of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds, based on writings from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Through this reading analysis, students and teachers explored the history of systemic racism and how it impacts our society today. The scholars concluded the year by showcasing their intellectual greatness and new learnings through the creation of social justice projects.
The intersection of culture, history, and the arts is a key component of the Our Story Project Curriculum. Below, students participated in a workshop about the meaning and importance of African jewelry creation.
Highlights from the Our Story Project Program
During the Our Story Project's Cultural Excursion to Alabama in April 2019, the scholars walked in the footsteps of greatness as they explored and reenacted moments from Civil Rights History, such as the infamous walk over the Edmund-Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Click to view a video of the Our Story's Cultural Excursion to Alabama (April 2019).
The Our Story Project curriculum provides scholars with the opportunity to not only engage in a yearly national field excursion, but several local cultural excursions, such as a trip to Harriet Tubman's home in Auburn, NY.
Culturally responsive pieces of literature are embedded into the Our Story Project curriculum. Scholars deepen their learning and understanding by engaging in reading and writing activities that connect the literature to their own personal lives and experiences.