Ms. Dempsey-Waters Created an African American History Curriculum for All Students


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Ms. Dempsey-Waters at the MLK jr. Memorial in Washington DC.

Wakefield’s Ms. Dempsey-Waters has been a change maker ever since she stepped into the school building. In 2017, when all of Wakefield staff were invited to the newly opened Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, she knew she had to bring the stories on display in that museum into the classroom.

According to Arlington Magazine, “Dempsey-Waters started writing the curriculum for a new high school course focusing squarely on African American History. The class begins with ancient African empires and moves forward in time through the present-day Black Lives Matter movement. Each component highlights resilience.” She has taught African American History since 2018 at Wakefield with the curriculum she created.

In 2019, Ms. Dempsey-Waters was named “Mount Vernon’s History Teacher of the Year”. When speaking of her role in the classrom, Ms. Dempsey-Waters said, “Most people don’t understand how, when African Americans fight for equity in the United States, it’s equity for everyone”. Her African American History class is one of the most popular classes at Wakefield. And there is potentially even more good news in the future, she has submitted her syllabus to the “College Board for a potential AP course—a version that, if approved, could be taught nationwide.”

What does Ms. Dempsey-Waters say about the importance of learning these stories? “My honest belief is that if we teach our children the truth, how we got to where we are today…we can delete a lot of stigmas and stereotypes that people have for each other and we can simply accept each other as humans.” Read the full article at

Thank you, Ms. Dempsey-Waters for all you do to help Wakefield become a better place. If you would like to enroll in her African-American History course, please email your counselor today.