Guilford County Schools (GCS) has shown improvement in academic achievement for all students as evidenced by measures such as End-of-Grade and End-of-Course scores, school performance composites, and graduation rates. While progress has been made, the overall performance of African American male students continues to lag behind other student subgroups. Efforts to increase the academic achievement of African American males remain at the forefront as Guilford County Schools strives to ensure excellence for all students. Therefore, the district initiated an Achieving Educational Excellence for African American Male Students project team comprised of critical players both internal and external whose work and positions are key to the success of this initiative.
Analyses of various achievement data are underway by the project team. As this section of work progresses, the realization does not change: educational systems throughout America are systemically failing African American male students. As reported by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, African American males are least likely to graduate from high school (www.blackboysreport.org). While much work must be done, it is the project team’s objective to determine where the district must begin in order to attain the greatest impact for improving educational outcomes for African American male students.
Engaging the wisdom and support of students, parents, and the community at-large is imperative as steps are determined and efforts focused in moving forward. Fifteen focus group sessions facilitated by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) were held in June, two focus group sessions facilitated by John Modest, Northern Region Superintendent and Barbara Zwadyk, Chief Curriculum and Organizational Development Officer, were held with African American male students attending summer school, two community forums recently took place —one in High Point and one in Greensboro, and a focus group session was held with young African American males attending a recent leadership summit sponsored by NCA&T State University and GCS. In addition to the focus groups and community forums, approximately 600 responses have been received to an online questionnaire available on the district’s webpage dedicated to this project.
The project team will continue its analyses of the qualitative and quantitative data to set specific goals and to develop a plan of action toward achieving educational excellence for all African American male students. Additionally, a team of African American male students will be assembled to advise and assist in creating strategies for improvement. The overall success of this initiative depends on us working in a unified and collective way.
The attached documents provide additional information regarding the work to date of this most important initiative.