First, a huge thank you to each and every person who came to our meeting last week and contributed your thoughts and energy! This work is a collaborative effort to solve a longstanding issue and to build strength amongst all of our bodies of work. What follows is a summary of the thoughts/needs/wants that came out of our conversation that will contribute to SESEC’s development of an African American Agenda in SE and beyond. I look forward to continuing to work towards action steps for these items.
If you are interested in learning more about this work or being part of an action committee working on the African American Agenda, please contact Marcus.
1)Black Parent Empowerment: Empowering parents through multiple angles of engagement, specifically in regards to Advocacy (training parents on rules of system, how to engage schools and how to navigate their social capital). This can be achieved through workshops and parent to parent “mentoring”. (Possibly done through parent nights, similar to Dearborn Park Elementary or Black & Brown Summitt at Highline Community College, also parent engagement through King County)
2)Mentoring & Leadership in Schools: Continued “family support” and mentorship models for students and families in schools, parent to parent, student to student, African American families to school community as a whole.
3) Academic & Behavior Data: The access to “living” data in the SE centering around academic/behavior success and challenges in the SE and real remedies to support real change around these issues that are disproportionate among AA community, especially males. Looking at true alternatives to discipline and continued work around racism and equity through shedding “light” on the issue as well as action steps.
4) Students w/Disabilities (Supports): Supporting the IEP process for students, specifically in high school for better supports. Also supporting students and parents with severe disabilities, to better support schools and families around these issues. How can parents better be informed of IEP process through advocacy previous to and during IEP process (updating IEP, minutes vs. minutes provided, etc)
5) Training for teachers & staff: Implementation and valuing of cultural competency in regards to SE and AA families. Possibly mandatory home visits, meeting parents where they are at (not every parent is prepared or wanting to join PTSAs, but have strengths that can be valued).
6) Student Empowerment: Keeping the student voice first and foremost, giving them the tools to advocate for themselves and know their own rights.