Sallie B. Howard School

Sallie B. Howard School centers local history.

I stopped by Sallie B. Howard School of Arts & Science to check out its recently installed Black Wilson Hall of Fame. The series pulls from Black Wide-Awake to introduce important historic local heroes to a new generation of black and brown children. But the Howard School went further, introducing the material to its young scholars in daily announcements and developing lesson plans for its teachers to use to in-depth discussions of the material. I’d hoped when I started BWA to provide a well from which my community could draw a better understanding of itself, and I’m honored to collaborate with SBHS this Black History Month!

Want to know more about Sallie B. Howard School? Its website describes its history and purpose:

Established in 1989, YEP (Youth Enrichment Program) of Wilson, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational and cultural organization inspired by the legendary educator and playwright Mrs. Sallie Baldwin Howard and founded by Dr. JoAnne Woodard, a licensed psychologist and Wilson native.

From the very beginning, this work was a labor of love. YEP began as a volunteer grassroots initiative devoted to breaking the cycle of drugs, crime, truancy and teenage pregnancy in low-income communities. The organization developed educational programs — summer camps, community choirs, workshops for boys, rites of passage training, parent education seminars and more –- to build self-confidence and raise the achievements and aspirations of local youth.

For 8 consecutive summers, YEP served over 400 children each year thanks to the support of area churches, elected officials and community leaders. The program’s impact was immediate: Wilson saw a decline in juvenile crime during the summers and demand for enrollment created long waiting lists.

After just a few years, it became clear that YEP needed a more permanent year-round presence in the community. The organization went on to apply for and win one of North Carolina’s first contracts to operate a public charter school. Thus, in 1997, the Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts & Education (SBHS) was born.

Two decades later, SBHS serves over 1,000 students in grades K-8 and features a performing arts-based curriculum, a travel abroad program, and a culturally diverse faculty. In 2020, the school will expand to include the SBH High School of Biotechnology and the Fine Arts.

Thank you, Dr. JoAnne Woodard and Saptosa Foster!