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EQUITY EDUCATION, EMPOWERMENT

Black History Month Essay Contest

Celebrating Black History Month in the 901 – Essay Contest

ENTRIES DUE BY FEBRUARY 21, 2020 AT 5 P.M. (CST)

TOPIC FOR GRADES 3 – 5:
In 300 words or less, please describe how African Americans have helped to define Memphis’ heritage and identity through their achievements and contributions to the broader society.

TOPIC FOR GRADES 6 – 12:
In 500 words or less, think of an African American historical figure whose life and works you wish you knew more. After doing some research on this person, write an essay describing his or her life, work, and historical importance. Try to show not only what makes the person unique in general but also how racial identity influenced his or her life.

This is some sample content.

We believe the future of Memphis is defined by the success of our students, and that success must come to all – not just some. Consistently, our African American males are getting left behind. They are more likely than their peers to be economically disadvantaged, graduate at lower rates, have lower attendance and earn lower ACT scores. In light of this, on July 22, 2019 Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray launched a groundbreaking initiative, African American Male Empowerment. The program will strategically propel our African-American boys to become our next generation of scholars and leaders through EQUITY, EDUCATION and EMPOWERMENT. Our boys need us - all of us - to help bridge the gap.

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How will you commit to our boys?

OUR PRIORITIES

1

Ensure access & exposure to rigorous instruction

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2

Intensify restorative practices

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3

Recruit African-American male teachers in grades K-5

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4

Build “Band of Brothers” to support mentoring & tutoring programs

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5

Create an Equity Institute for professional learning

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6

Leverage an Equity Task Force

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7

Establish an Equity Office

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CHANGING THE TREND

In most cases, African-American male students are performing at a lower level than their peers, accessing advanced programs at a lower rate or experiencing critcal issues that impact achievement.

66% are economically disadvantaged

41% of total student absences

50% more likely to be suspended or expelled than peers

50% more likely to be enrolled in an alternative school

50% less likely to be enrolled in CLUE

4 points lower than average graduation rate

17% meeting state standards for Math

14% meeting state standards for English/Language Arts

5% participate in AP courses

50% more likely to require special education