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National Arab American Heritage Month 2024

  • Culture Appreciation
National Arab American Heritage Month 2024

April is Arab American Heritage Month, a time our district and schools celebrate the Arab American heritage and culture and pay tribute to the contributions of Arab and Arabic-speaking Americans.

An estimated 3.7 million Americans have Arab roots, according to the Arab American Institute, with ancestries traced to 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and others.

These cultures are part of the fabric that make our district one of the most diverse in the state — a strength we embrace and weave into the culture of our schools, and education of our scholars.

Throughout April we look forward to sharing how our schools are celebrating Arab American Heritage with assemblies, art projects, musical performances and more. We want to share these experiences with the entire district, so be sure to email photos to

View additional recognitions in the FWPS Cultural & Religious Calendar here:

Embracing Arab American Heritage: A Journey of Discovery at Thomas Jefferson High School

Thomas Jefferson High School celebrated National Arab American Heritage Month by learning about Arab Americans and their important contributions to our country. During their advisory sessions, students discovered the rich history, language, and range of cultures of Arab and Arabic-speaking Americans. They learned about notable individuals such as U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, activist Linda Sarsour, space scientist and geologist Farouk El-Baz, and how Arab Americans have been part of Ford Motors' history. They also discovered that Arabic is spoken by over 400 million people worldwide, ranking it as the fifth most popular language globally. Furthermore, according to the Washington State census, King County has the largest population of Arab Americans in the state which weaves in the fabric our school culture as we embrace the strength of diversity.

Reflecting on this newfound knowledge about Arab American heritage, scholars actively engaged in discussion centered on a quote from Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan: “We are stronger when we listen and smarter when we share.” They brainstormed ways to empower their learning and advocate for recognition of Arab culture, history, and media.

The advisory lesson concluded by equipping students with resources for further exploration with a book list, the website to the Arab American National Musuem, and a video about cuisine.

In Federal Way Public Schools, there is a strong commitment to nurturing cultural diversity among students. National Arab American Heritage Month provides a significant opportunity to broaden scholars' perspectives and deepen their understanding of our community's rich diversity, with a special emphasis on Arab American experiences throughout April. At Thomas Jefferson High School, we're proud to exemplify this dedication to learning and cultural awareness, as we join in celebrating and honoring Arab American heritage throughout the month.

Exploring Arabic: Valhalla Elementary Embraces Arab American Heritage

elementary school assembly with scholar presenting

National Arab American Heritage Month is a great opportunity for our scholars to discover more about cultures that are part of the Federal Way community and connect them to the global community. At Valhalla Elementary the school community made that connection in an assembly with a lesson on Arabic, one of the most spoken languages in the world and within the district.

Before starting in on the hands-on learning experience, several scholar leaders presented about countries that are part of the Arab world and a variety of Arabic words and icons that are associated with Arab cultures and events.

elementary student writing Arabic projected on a display
elementary student writing on a worksheet on a gym floor
elementary students paying attention to a presentation
elementary student in traditional Arab dress

Valhalla scholars then led the assembly lesson, giving direction and insight to their classmates on how to write the Arabic alphabet. Did you know that Arabic is written and read from right to left? With a pencil in hand and with the help from the student leaders, students had a great time practicing writing with their peers and discovering a new way to communicate.

Valhalla teacher Ms. Older organized the assembly and was enthusiastic, saying, “our school is so diverse, and our scholars have a lot of curiosity and wanted to learn more about Arab American cultures. Learning the basics of Arabic is something we could teach, and the scholars could carry with them.”

Understanding other languages and alphabets is a learning experience for scholars to gain better understanding of the world around them. It fosters respect and culture awareness in scholars and develops unique language skills. FWPS embraces these learning activities that are made possible because of the wonderfully diverse community of Federal Way.

an elementary school assembly with principal addressing student body

Meredith Hill Elementary Honors Arab American Heroes

students posing for the camera

Wrapping this year’s events for National Arab American Heritage Month, Meredith Hill Elementary scholars proudly presenting their Arab American heroes at an all-school assembly.

Scholars, Selina, Shaheer, and Lana (above image, pictured left to right) were chosen to share their presentations with the school community. Fourth grade scholar Lana, after meticulous research, decided to spotlight Danny Thomas. A son of Lebanese migrants, Thomas went on to found St. Jude’s Children's Hospital. Lana explained her choice, saying, “I was going to choose a musician, but I picked Danny Thomas because of all the children helped by St. Jude’s (Children's Hospital).”

FWPS is immensely proud of Meredith Hill Elementary providing a window into the many cultures that make up the Federal Way community. These opportunities not only support scholars’ sense of self but also foster a deeper understanding and respect for the diversity around us. Meredith Hill Elementary serves as a shining example of the year-round learning taking place in FWPS classrooms.