Board gets update on equity efforts

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Director of Equity and Student Achievement Percy Brown Jr. and MHS student engagement specialist Antonio Hoye provided an update on equity achievements and efforts in the District at the Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, April 9.

Brown noted there has been some staff restructuring over the past year. The District was able to hire two bilingual family engagement liaisons in the schools after Karen Rice Osterman left. He also reviewed a number of events the family engagement liaisons have hosted including Tech Night, immigration law information and bilingual literacy nights. The District plans to increase the number of days the two liaisons work from 185 to 210 in next year's budget, Brown said.

Brown also reviewed some of the organizations, such as Student Voice Union and Black Student Union, and the impact they are having in schools and with students. He is very excited about the work of the Justice League mentoring program and reported it has expanded to include Latino students at Elm Lawn and West Middleton. About 50 high school students are participating along with more than 100 elementary students.

"It has probably been our most successful program this year,'' Brown said.

He is also excited about the work at the middle schools, where one or both schools have developed a Black Girls Magic, Latinos Unidos, Hip Hop, Breakfast Club, 3-on-3 basketball league and Black Student Union.

Brown reported that the graduation rate of the 90-plus black students who participated in the spring break trip or Black Student Union over the past four years was 94.5 percent and 100 percent if look at six-year cohort. About 20 Latino students participated and their 5-year graduation rate was 100 percent.

Brown and Hoye also reviewed the work that still needs to be done and the challenges ahead, including that just 19 percent of black District students who took the most recent ACT scored proficient or better.