More than 25 years ago, academic performance data revealed a gap between the performance of white children and their less affluent non-white contemporaries. An urgent and immediate response was warranted and the education reform movement was born.
25 plus years in full swing with untold billions in investment, the group needing the most out of that movement is now even further behind. Here in our nation’s capital, a city ranked top 5 in innovation, the overall academic outcomes for black and brown boys are distressing. DC is also ranked second to last in all states as it relates to graduation rates for black males. These two realities, “the highest ranked state” in education reform and “the lowest ranked state” in graduation rates, can no longer be allowed to live in the same city.
When asked and observed, black and brown boys are often disconnected from the adults responsible for their education, uninspired by the content of their classes, and unengaged in the formal education process. A problem this persistent may warrant a radical and provocative solution – a school environment that reimagines, redesigns and recreates that student experience for African American and Latino boys specifically. The mission of Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School is just that - to create a boy-friendly pedagogy-informed academic environment within which young men are equipped with the academic skills, social competencies, and personal development necessary to navigate life challenges, attend and complete the college of their choice, and return to become the premier agents of social change within and for the communities they serve.
Within 20 years of the inception of Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys, the District of Columbia will be widely known for the following:
- An abundance of well-rounded, well-educated, well-experienced African American and Latino men as candidates for each career opportunity that becomes available.
- An abundance of well-informed and deeply committed African American and Latino men meaningfully engaged in the front line work of educational social justice, contributing time, talent, ideation and philanthropy to the forward progression of a high quality public education for all.
- An emerging cohort of well-resourced and well-connected African American and Latino men leading a group of entrepreneurs in redesigning and reshaping the DC community with a plan of their own design.
- Alumni of the academy ascending into leadership roles citywide, including an alumnus of the school assuming leadership of Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys, re-conceptualizing its mission and carrying the work of the academy to a new level.
The philosophy of Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys is founded on the core belief that accomplishing high levels of academic achievement for Black and Latino males, male students of urban poverty, is both possible and necessary. While the recipe may seem complex, it has two primary ingredients.
First and foremost, we believe that these young men respond consistently and favorably to school environments that promote “high expectations”, utilizing curriculum and instructional pedagogy that result in high levels of academic engagement. Immediately accompanying those high expectations is the second ingredient - warm, caring and trusting relationships.
Their performance is solidified in an environment where high academic expectations are supported by adults - and peers - with whom they have bonded relationships and a shared goal. To turn Male Students of Urban Poverty into Young Male Scholars, the primary ingredients are a “tight knit crew and a worthy cause” – relationships and relevance leading to rigor and resilience.