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    AAMAC Initiates Council of Elders and Updates Vision for African American Males

      AAMAC Council of Elders

    AAMAC Council of the Elders, pictured left to right:  Delbert Richardson, Marty McLaren, Dr. Donald Felder, Rodney Jones, Princess Shareef and Ina Howell

    Read the Council of Elders December newsletter!

    Launching into a new school year and an energized sense of urgency over the continued opportunity gaps for African American males, the African American Male Advisory Committee (AAMAC) welcomed September by organizing a unique, hands-on project and a renewed vision for their work.

    The Council of Elders was an idea that has been embedded in the history of AAMAC but not fully operationalized until now. Eager to purse one of their specific Recommendations, AAMAC formed a Council of Elders within the larger committee to go into schools and observe school’s efforts of welcoming environments. The recommendation was part of the Family Engagement focus and is also a critical component of School Board Policy 0030. Three schools have agreed to be part of this initial effort: Leschi Elementary, John Muir Elementary and Orca K-8. The Elders received full volunteer training in September plus an introduction and orientation at each school site in November. The Elders will spend time in each of the three schools, observing the physical, social-emotional and academic environment and share their observations at future meetings. Future meetings will include invited guests from the community as well as subject matter experts to listen to the Elders’ observations and share their own expertise in what comprises a welcoming environment in our schools.  The whole committee will review the work of the Elders with the goal of producing a baseline set of “look-fors” that schools can use to ensure that every student and family member is warmly welcomed and included in each of our schools.

    Renewed Vision for 2018 and Beyond:  African American Males are the Architects of their Own Dreams

    Since delivering a comprehensive set of Recommendations for African American males to Dr. Larry Nyland in September 2017, the then-five distinct sub-committees of AAMAC have reformed into one collective group, intent on following the recommendations into policy and practice.  As a whole committee, it made sense for AAMAC to review its vision to ensure it aligned with their current work as well as the ongoing needs of African American males.  As such the following vision statement was developed and approved by the majority of committee members:  African American Males are the Architects of their Own Dreams.

    AAMAC's next step will be to review their mission statement.

    EOG Gallery Walk Showcases Educational Equity Work Throughout Seattle Public Schools’ History

    Dr. Donald Felder, Dr. Brent Jones and Michael Tolley​

    Dr. Donald Felder, Dr. Brent Jones and Michael Tolley​

    On August 2, Seattle Public Schools’ Strategy and Partnerships Division (now Equity, Partnerships and Engagement Division) welcomed guests to the first Eliminating Opportunity Gaps Gallery Walk to celebrate and commemorate the district’s movement towards educational and racial equity. Eliminating Opportunity Gaps (EOG) is Seattle Public Schools’ commitment to remove barriers and provide excellence in education for each and every student.

    The event was open to all and guests included John Stanford staff, current and former parents, as well as community advocates and partners. While not a specific AAMAC event, several AAMAC members attended the Gallery Walk.  At the Gallery Walk, the crowd of 50 heard from Superintendent Denise Juneau; Dr. Brent Jones, Chief of Strategy and Partnerships; Meaghan Kahlo, Archives content analyst; and Claire Johnson, graphic artist.

    Guests at the event were introduced to two EOG exhibitions on display that showcase a select history of Seattle Public Schools’ equity-focused work.

    The displays contain:

    • a compilation of histories, documenting influential figures, events and periods
    • an outline of School Board Policy 0030 (Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity)
    • a multimedia presentation that connects EOG work to student impact

    One highlight; In 1977, The Seattle Plan ‘for eliminating racial imbalance by the 1979-80 school year’ made Seattle the largest city in the United States to voluntarily undertake district-wide desegregation through mandatory busing.

    All are invited to view the district’s equity history in the Gallery located on the 2nd floor of the John Stanford Center outside of room 2750. Ongoing updates on the district’s EOG work will be published throughout the year in this space. This effort is one of many ways that the district is increasing awareness of racial equity as a high-priority initiative in eliminating opportunity gaps.

    Read more about Eliminating Opportunity Gaps

    Read more about the Formula for Success

    AAMAC recognized as Premiere Partner at School Board meeting

    Above: AAMAC members and supporters with Dr. Larry Nyland and the School Board at the April 25, 2018 School Board meeting

    Below: YouTube clip of the presentation (16 minutes)

    Final Recommendations presentation to the Superintendent

    Final Recommendations booklet (pdf)

    On September 28, 2017, the African American Male Advisory Committee presented their Final Recommendations to the Superintendent and senior leadership. The presentation represented a culmination of 15+ months of work from the committee on recommendations focused to improve outcomes for African American male students. There are five committees:

    • Attendance
    • College and Career Readiness
    • Community Partnerships
    • Family Engagement
    • Policy and Practice

    The top three recommendations from each committee were highlighted in a Power Point presentation, presented in written version and discussed in dialogue with members of senior leadership. The recommendations and ideas have been generated and vetted by community members and committee members. Accordingly, the AAMAC has included long-term policy recommendations coupled with short-term tools that can be employed immediately to empower the community to leverage the good work that is already taking place.

    The next step in the process is for senior leadership to examine how the recommendations can become operational and develop a timeline for implementation. A status report will be ready for the AAMAC members at their next meeting on November 9.

    AAMAC History

    AAMAC officially formed in June 2016.  The African American Male Advisory Committee’s (AAMAC) roots go back to the original African American Male Think Tank, a group that authored six initiatives whose purpose was to improve the quality of life and education for all African American males within Seattle Public Schools. Five of those six initiatives were operational and the positive effects, such as establishing a method for authentic community engagement and providing professional development addressing racism, implicit bias, trauma, social justice, equity, and culturally responsive pedagogy, can be seen in our schools today.

    View the Six Recommendations of the African American Male Think Tank


    AAMAC was formed to provide guidance on how to best transform our educational system so that we are ensuring educational excellence for all students, particularly our African American males. Our work will focus on advancing the “Four Ps”:

    1. Positive Beliefs:
      Shift the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of adults to recognize and cultivate the gifts and strengths of every student.
    2. Positive Relationships:
      Nurture students’ sense of belonging and validate their identities.
    3. Positive Learning:
      Provide responsive and culturally relevant instruction that engages students in their learning.
    4. Positive Partnerships:
      Support reciprocal partnerships that ensure students are known, challenged and supported.

    The AAMAC is also charged with assisting Seattle Public Schools in fulfilling it's mission of Eliminating Opportunity Gaps for each and every student, ensuring that they reach their optimal potential.

    Read more about Seattle Public Schools Eliminating Opportunity Gaps initiative

    Contact Information

    Department of Equity Initiatives & Outcomes

    Helpful Links

    African American Male Advisory Committee 2018-19 Meetings

    • Sept. 20, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • Oct. 18, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • Nov. 29, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • Jan. 24, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
    • Feb. 28, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • March 28, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • May 2, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • June 6, 4 - 6 p.m.
    • July 11, 3 - 7 p.m. (AAMAC work session)

    boys and computers