AURORA, Colo. (KDVR/AP) — The College Board revised the official curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course on African American studies on Wednesday, the first day of Black History Month.

The curriculum downplays some components that drew criticism from conservatives, like Florida Gov. Ron Desantis, who rejected the initial course and said he would ban it from the Sunshine State. In the new framework, topics like Black Lives Matter, reparations and queer theory were taken off the exam.

The course is currently being tested in 60 schools across the country and that includes Colorado. FOX31 got a closer look inside an Aurora classroom on Wednesday to see how students are taking to the new course.

Inside Overland High’s AP African American studies

Despite the complaints from some conservatives, students at Overland High School in Aurora are loving AP African American studies. Thirty seniors are enrolled at Overland High, but the administration said interest is high, with requests from eighth graders and parents wanting to get involved.

Nathan Umetsu teaches the new pilot course at that is now in its second semester. The course began in August 2022 and students will take their exam in the spring to gauge their understanding of the content.

“I wanted to get involved the second they asked,” Umetsu said. “This is a course that we need here at the school and in the general public. A chance where students have a chance to learn their own history. We never really get into the specifics of African American studies. We kind of say, here’s some important leaders that students should know, and that is it.”

For the past decade, College Board has been constructing the framework for the course. Umetsu said the course is specialized for college credit and focuses on project-based learning and open discussion and debate. The course work covers African American and Black history from the early 1500s through the Civil Rights Era to the modern day.

‘I want to learn more about my own history’

Miya Heath is a senior who chose to enroll in the course and shared with FOX31 why she wanted to take the course.

“I want to learn more about my own history,” Heath said. “Typically in schools and in textbooks, only a certain part of Black history is covered, and I want to learn all of it, and I’ve already learned so much. I love how we’re open to have discussions and speak our minds, no judgments.”

Umetsu said the course is optional and it’s inspiring to see the interest it’s already created through their hallways.

“I’ve seen them interested every single day. This is not a course that students were forced to pick,” Umetsu said. “It shows a lot about their integrity. They’re wanting to learn more. They’re hearing everything on the news and in the media, family and friends, and they just want to know more information.”

Learning about Malcolm X, Beyoncé and HBCUs

In the classroom on Wednesday were specific textbooks, slideshows showing Malcolm X and Beyoncé, as well as discussions of Howard University and other historically black colleges and universities.

Despite College Board’s decision to revise some of the curricula, students like Heath are finding the course so far “life-changing.”

“I’ve always known that I wanted to do something regarding history or political science, but this class really cemented it for me because this is my favorite class,” Heath shared.

According to College Board, the pilot program is currently underway.

College Board has a goal to expand to hundreds of other classrooms next school year and that all schools can begin to offer AP African American studies in the 2024-2025 school year.