Achieving Educational Excellence for African American Male Students
Educational systems throughout America are systemically failing African-American male students. Guilford County Schools is working to find solutions to this national dilemma. In the spring of 2011, the district launched Achieving Educational Excellence for African-American Male Students to focus efforts on improving educational outcomes for African-American males. A project team of approximately 25 members was assembled representing district leaders, student support staff, principals, parents, and institutions of higher education. Working together, we will continue to strive for excellence and effectively support all African-American male students throughout Guilford County Schools.
Throughout the 2011-12 school year, the project team reviewed input gathered through various mediums including community forums, focus group sessions and an online questionnaire regarding Guilford County Schools’ efforts to address the disparate outcomes for African-American male students and what must be considered when developing plans for improvement (Your Voice). The project team gained common understandings through shared experiences such as visiting the International Civil Rights Museum and participating in professional development. The team extensively reviewed and analyzed achievement and discipline data reports and received advisement from an African-American male student advisory group.
Subsequently, through an aligned management process and substantial open dialogue, two priority focus areas were selected: early literacy and disproportionality in discipline. Subcommittees were then formed to begin addressing priority goals for each area and to develop plans for improvement.
Click here to view the Early Literacy Plan for Improvement.
Click here to view the Disproportionality in Discipline Plan for Improvement.
As the Achieving Educational Excellence for African-American Male Students initiative entered its second phase in 2012-13, nine schools were selected to begin piloting improvement plans. Six elementary schools were selected to focus on early literacy and one elementary, one middle and one high school was selected to pilot plans to reduce the number of instructional days lost by African-American male students by focusing on disproportionality in discipline. Pilot schools were selected based on multiple factors including data review and analysis, current school initiatives, and school capacity.
On July 31, August 1 and August 2, staff from the six early literacy pilot schools attended a symposium featuring nationally renowned speakers. Topics included teaching literacy through culturally relevant texts, culturally relevant pedagogy, motivating African-American boys and implicit bias. An evaluative summary of the symposium is included in the early literacy subcommittee report and indicates that overall school staffs were very satisfied with the content and outcomes of the symposium.
Click here to view the 2012 African American Male Early Literacy Symposium Program.
On August 1 and 2, staff from the three disproportionality in discipline pilot schools attended a symposium also featuring speakers known throughout the United States for their expertise in African-American male achievement as well as the effects and outcomes of disproportionate discipline throughout the nation’s educational system. An evaluative summary of this symposium included in the discipline subcommittee report indicates that schools were very satisfied with the content and outcomes of the symposium.
Click here to view the Achieving Educational Excellence for African-American Male Students: Disproportionality in Discipline program.
Throughout each of the symposiums, time was allotted for each school’s staff to come together to reflect on the information being shared and discussed, and at the end of the symposium developed action plans for improvement. The action plan became a component of the school improvement plan.