Broward schools symposium of black male graduation rate
More than 300 major stakeholders joined Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) officials, administrators and educators at a recent symposium designed to discuss solutions for one of the nation’s and Broward’s most critical educational issues: the consistently low performance and graduation rate of Black male students.
At the invitation of Broward County School Board, Vice Chair Benjamin J. Williams (District 5) and Broward Schools Superintendent James F. Notter, the event was designed to update parents, students, civic, community and faith-based leaders, educators, and the public about low academic performance and graduation rates among Black males and how to work together to find solutions. School Board Chair Jennifer Gottlieb participated and represented the School Board and their commitment in support of improving the performance and graduation rate of Black male students.
Discussion was centered around five pillars – academic expectations, mentoring, family involvement, community support and quality teachers and leaders – and connecting home, school and community as partners focusing on intervention and prevention strategies. The meeting also provided updates on the strategies, programs and initiatives being undertaken by the School District.
Long before the recent, highly publicized studies, including those by The Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Southern Poverty Law Center, reporting a series of troubling statistics nationally and bringing attention to the Black male graduation rate, Broward County Public Schools had been implementing methods to improve performance and graduation rate.
The District’s overall graduation rate was 74.2 percent in 2009. For Black males, the graduation rate was 57.4 for 2009. Disaggregating the data by removing charter schools, our rate is 60%. Significantly increasing the graduation rate, particularly for Black male students, is one of the District’s most critical educational issues and goals.
Centerpieces for the program were testimonials by representatives of Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders, a student peer-mentoring program at Boyd Anderson High School, who noted that Black male role models and mentors were positive influences in affecting their behavior, school attendance, academic work and study skills. There was also a heartfelt testimonial by a parent, about the importance of the program, and how his son continues to benefit as a result.
In a closing “call to action” in support of the overall success of young Black male students in the District, Superintendent Notter said, “We must come together and guide these young men toward a future they all deserve. Let us unite and work diligently. Together we can make a difference.”
To learn more about mentoring opportunities, contact BCPS Youth Mentoring, Wanda Robinson, administrator at 754-321-1972.
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