In the spring of 2007, Bedford Academy was ranked the best school in Brooklyn and the number two school in the city according to the New York City Department of Education Report Card. In November 2007, Bedford Academy was awarded with the Proclamation for Scholastic Achievement. Over the course of the last five years, Bedford Academy has boasted a graduation rate of over 95%.
Over 90% of Bedford Academy’s male population (which is nearly all males of color) graduates with a Regents Diploma, and 75% graduates with an Advanced Regents Diploma. In 2011 over 90% of Bedford Academy’s graduating males were accepted to four-year colleges or universities.
The “Perspectives in Leadership” class serves male students of color that underperform academically and display signs of counterproductive social behavior- both in and outside of school. The curriculum for the class promotes a heightened sense of self among males of color, an exposure to successful males of color in professional settings, a sense of urgency in the areas of community awareness and activism, a clear understanding of the representation of males of color in the media, and perseverance in the presence of adversity. Participants in the Perspectives on Leadership class achieve notable grade increases across all subjects.
Academy also designed a gender-based Freshman Seminar which aims to grow self-esteem and life management skills and to address specific challenges that males of color much overcome in order to navigate academic challenges, bias, societal pressure and racism. Many of Bedford Academy’s male students of color also meet with elders of the generations before them to “discover themselves, to transform and to celebrate while energizing the community with warmth, culture and fun.” Additionally, this year, the males at Bedford Academy instituted and organized the Emerging Leaders Series, which was a panel discussion addressing the need for a sense of urgency regarding the education of Black Males.
The Eagle Academy for Young Men – Bronx: In 2004, a group of educators, parents, community leaders and corporate partners, opened the Academy for Young Men in the South Bronx, NY. Eagle Academy was the first single sex boys public school to open in New York City in approximately thirty years. Among their current students, 63% are African-American, 34% are Latino, 3% are listed as other.
The Eagle Academy for Young Men follows the Eagle Model, a disciplined and purpose-driven approach, designed specifically for inner city young men of color, built around Eagle core values of character, integrity, lifelong learning, partnership, and responsibility. In addition to academic rigor, the Eagle Model features intervention techniques and wraparound support services to address the societal challenges faced by young men of color.
The first Eagle class graduated in June 2008 with a 71% graduation rate, compared to citywide rates of 51% for African Americans and 48% for Latinos. In 2011, 87% of active seniors graduated from high school. The top students demonstrated tremendous individual achievement, matriculating in top colleges and universities. Overall, 90% of Eagle Academy graduates go on to colleges and universities. Once they reach college, Eagle Academy graduates are thriving, with college/university retention rates averaging 84% for the three-most recent high school graduating classes,
The Eagle Model includes: Parent Engagement activities; Academic Enrichment; College Prep; Extended Day Programs including year-long Saturday workshops; Rituals; Summer Bridge Programs; and Mentoring. The Eagle Model also includes social service and remedial intervention necessary to enable students to achieve academic success. The school features small class sizes and trained and engaged teachers.
One example of one of an Eagle Academy ritual is the Eagle Academy House Model. The purpose of the house model is to instill a sense of cohesion and brotherhood among the students. Houses are named after prominent men of color that exemplify characteristics that are consistent with the Academy’s philosophy. Students become familiar with the individual their respective houses are named after, and attempt to embody the characteristics that they either currently demonstrate, or have demonstrated. Houses are comprised of students in the same section, spanning all grades. There are four houses, and each house has separate assemblies and school activities to promote a sense of solidarity within the house.
Fenway High School is a district secondary school in Boston MA which serves 320 students. Students come from neighborhoods across Boston, and represent a broad spectrum of learning styles and levels of accomplishment in previous schools. The racial mix is about 40% black, 47% Hispanic, 7% white, and 6% Asian or other. Males comprise 46% of the student body. Over 69% of all of Fenway High School’s students live at or below the poverty level. About 12% have identified learning disabilities. Over 34% come from families who do not speak English as their native language.
In 2008, 2009, and 2010 all seniors graduated, including two cohorts of students with substantial learning disabilities. In 2011, 98% of the senior class graduated. Fenway’s four-year graduation rate is 90% and its drop-out rate is about 2%. Close to 90% of Fenway’s graduates head to college upon graduation and 95% of those to four-year institutions. Last year’s seniors received $900,000 in scholarships and financial aid.
Fenway was cited as providing exceptional education to its Latino students. In its 2008 report on Boston schools where Latino students succeed, the Mauricio Gaston Institute listed Fenway as one of the exceptional schools in Boston at which Hispanic students excel. The study cites “two key areas create the conditions for Latinos to succeed academically and socially. First, the Mission, Core Values, Habits of Mind, School Motto and Safety Guidelines at Fenway create an environment that is safe, nurturing and challenging for all students. Second, Fenway commits itself to creating a diverse community—a reflection of the city’s diversity—providing evidence that highly functioning communities are committed to learning about each other’s languages, races, gender, sexual orientation, religions and other traditions and to unlearning negative stereotypes can exist.”
Two male African-American student support counselors created a program called MORE (Men Organized Responsible and Educated). The focus at MORE is on what it takes to be a man of color in today’s society; how to manage society’s expectations of men of color and one’s own expectations and dreams. At MORE students are required to attend an overnight retreat and weekly meetings; they participate in leadership roles, including community service projects, an annual men’s night, and a weeklong annual trip to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Another group that targets all the males in the school is the Boys to Men Club, which explores issues of health and wellness. A third initiative focused on males of color at the school is Fenway’s involvement in a district-wide initiative called the 10 Boys Initiative that is designed to improve the academic and social, emotional development of African-American and Latino students within the Boston Public Schools.
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice (SLJ), a district secondary school in Brooklyn NY, hosts 454 students. SLJ is project-based, challenging, and heavily infused with reading, writing and analytical thinking. Additionally, SLC’s academic program engages students through issues of law and social justice. Parents work alongside staff and teachers to promote the success of the school, to support the school board, and to maintain a positive social environment.
SJL started its Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) in 2007 to address a growing trend in its school: the Black and Latino male students were lagging behind SLJ female students on virtually every academic measure. These young men were: graduating at significantly lower rates; not on track to graduate on time; failing classes; absent more, spending more time in detention, participating in fewer extracurricular programs and not applying for prestigious pre-college opportunities. In response to this gender disparity, YMI’s mission is to create and foster a positive sense of self, increase school engagement and improve academic performance among our young men.
While graduation rates of these students fluctuate year to year, SLJ’s young men are making progress academically. They are meeting or exceeding standardized testing scores in math and ELA, their dropout rate has decreased and the number of them enrolled in a 4-year college or University has increased from 43% to 68%.
To accomplish the mission of YMI, staff has created a variety of programs designed to connect black and Latino young men to the opportunities and support that can lead them to success. Such programs include: The Young Men’s Association, a young men’s empowerment group; Staring at our Futures: Conversations with Successful Men of Color, a lunch speaker series; Brother2Brother is a mentoring program, which matches young men from all backgrounds with professional males from New York City, provides students with a positive role model outside of the home and school environments to also support the academic and socio-emotional growth of the students; College Visits, an opportunity for students to stay on campus with a college freshman; and Brotherhood Advisory, a program that supports academics and socio-emotional growth. YMI also sponsors intramural athletic competitions and a tutoring program.
Associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a sociologist who studies the intersection of social class and culture in the education and identities among immigrants and the children of immigrants. She is the author of Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity among Chinese Americans (Stanford University Press, 2004) and a forthcoming book, Keeping the Immigrant Bargain: The Costs and Rewards of Success in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012). She is an editor and contributor to “Writing Immigration: Scholars and Journalists in Dialogue”(University of California Press, 2011). She has been awarded postdoctoral fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, and a position as visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. A native of New York City, Louie received her doctorate in sociology from Yale University, and previously worked as a newspaper journalist and a lecturer in sociology at Harvard.
Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former Director of the Urban Superintendents Program there. Prior to Harvard, Peterkin was the Superintendent of Schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. His early career as a special education teacher and principal before serving in several central office positions in the Boston Public Schools informed his commitment to serving all students at high levels, including those traditionally “at the margins.” Peterkin is a national expert on school desegregation and served for seven years as the court-appointed monitor for a school district consent decree. His continuing leadership in education includes heading transition teams for numerous entering superintendents, most recently in Chicago and Montgomery County, Maryland, and advising the New Jersey Superintendents Network, dedicated to transforming public schools by focusing on the instructional core. Peterkin holds a doctorate in education from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2002 and the Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the AASA, honoring educational equity and excellence in 2006.
National leader noted for her courageous efforts to expose and address the plight, challenges, and opportunities available to change the education trajectory of black male students. Most recently she served as the regional education director for New Leaders for New Schools (NLNS). Prior to joining NLNS, Dr. Smith was president and chief executive officer of the Schott Foundation for Public Education for six years and superintendent of the Columbus, Ohio and Beloit, Wisconsin public school districts.
Dr. Smith has earned numerous awards, including, the Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year, the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, the Spurgeon Award, the YMCA Outstanding Achievement Award, the NAACP Service Award, the HOSTS Champion for Children Award, and the Fred Rogers Leadership Award in Philanthropy.
Works with CEC on school and district transformations. In that capacity, he is involved with school board goal-setting and strategic planning; improved leadership appraisal systems; and consultative services for school districts on high school reform, closing achievement gaps, and leadership development. He joined CEC in 2008.
Dr. Alson began his teaching career as a junior high school mathematics teacher in the Philadelphia Public Schools and served as a teacher and administrator in several communities in Massachusetts, including several years as assistant director of the Boston Public Schools/Boston University Desegregation Collaborative.
He was superintendent of Evanston (Illinois) Township High School (ETHS) from 1992 until June 2006. While superintendent, the achievement gap at ETHS narrowed, most notably in mathematics and college attendance rates for students of color.
Dr. Alson most recently served as a Senior Fellow for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with responsibility for the Chicago Public Schools’ High School Transformation Project including the high school Instructional Leadership Council.
Dr. Alson has consulted and made frequent presentations in Illinois and around the country on topics related to equity and the academic achievement of students of color, principal leadership training, and high school reform. In addition, he has published articles on student achievement, school reform, and school-community collaboration. He has been honored by the state of Illinois and a variety of social service agencies for his educational leadership and his work on behalf of minority student achievement.
Pedro Noguera, PhD, is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. Noguera is an urban sociologist whose scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment. He holds faculty appointments in the departments of Teaching and Learning and Humanities and Social Sciences at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Development, as well as in the Department of Sociology at New York University. Dr. Noguera is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and the co-Director of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings (IGEMS). In 2008, he was appointed by the Governor of New York to serve on the State University of New York Board of Trustees.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Phil graduated from Morehouse College in 1969. Following graduation, he served in the 82d Airborne Division of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He began his business career in 1972 as a commercial insurance underwriter with the Travelers Insurance Company. While employed full time, Phil studied law at the Atlanta Law School (now the Law School at Georgia State University), graduating in 1979 with honors.
He joined Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in 1977 as an Account Executive and was named Supervising Underwriter in 1978. In 1980 he was named Regional Underwriting Manager in Chicago and in 1982, Regional Vice President and General Manager for Southern California. Phil was appointed Vice President and Area Executive - Atlantic States in 1985 based at the corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, Pa. The area consisted of 13 states and the District of Columbia. In 1990 he was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer of the Select Markets Group, where he remained until retiring in 1995.
In 1997, Phil became Vice President of Sales and Director of Marketing for Waste Management Corp. He became the Principal Partner in Servant Leadership LLC – a labor management consulting firm based in Philadelphia in 1998. In 2009, he retired and relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina where he and his wife, Jeannette (Spelman ’70) currently reside.
Phil also served at president of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association. He most recently served as an adjunct professor of business law at the School of Business and Economics, North Carolina A&T State University. Phil is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity.
The professional career of Sandra Spooner, the Executive Director and Director of Client Services of Research for Better Teaching, Inc., of Acton, Massachusetts, spans more than 35 years and includes teaching grades K-12 and at the college level, as well as school and district leadership in culturally diverse educational settings in the United States and Europe. Her professional background includes expertise in reading and language arts, English as a Second Language, and leadership. While serving as Assistant Director of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, Title I Program, the school department received an award from the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) Outstanding Compensatory Education Program, based on statistically significant improvement in student performance and successful parent involvement programs.
As Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Cambridge (MA) Public Schools, Dr. Spooner forged partnerships with city hall, community agencies, and businesses to provide integrated services to students and their families. She also created an Office of Grants Development and Program Assessment, which brought much-needed funding to the school district for innovative projects that still serve teachers and students in the Cambridge Public Schools. In 2004, she was awarded a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
In her role at Research for Better Teaching, Dr. Spooner is “first responder” to client requests, assisting, as needed, in the design of professional development programs and coordinating requests based on consultant availability and expertise.
The 2012 COSEBOC School Award Program was sponsored by the
Open Society Foundation: Campaign for Black Male Acheivement