March 2012
In This Issue
Know Your Gifts
Black Male Success
Secrets for Motivating...
STEM Education
Keeping Black Males in Class...
The Best Summer Programs
Student Profile
Quick Links


March 13, 2012
Lithonia, GA

March 21, 2012
Greensboro, SC

March 22-23, 2012
Superintendent's Conference
Tinley Park, IL

March 24, 2012
University of Louisville 

April 14, 2012
Newberry, SC

April 21, 2012
Girl Scouts of SE Florida

  April 28, 2012
Lithonia, GA  
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Mychal Wynn
In this issue...


Black male achievement has been a focus of discussion in school communities for many years. The National Council on Educating Black Children will host its annual conference in Kansas City, MO from April 26 - 28, 2012. The focus of the conference is "Policies, Practices, and Pedagogy" as they relate to increasing Black male achievement.

My book, "Empowering African-American Males: A Guide to Increasing Black Male Achievement " was first published 20 years ago. Since authoring the book, I have raised two sons, one of whom attends Amherst College and the other will be entering college in the fall. In the book I outline the critically important role of parents:

"The role of parents is unquestionably the most important influence in helping a young man along his journey from boyhood to manhood. The way to academic achievement is either paved through parental expectations and involvement or sabotaged through parental neglect, excuses, or low expectations. (p. 23)"


A new research study by University of Pennsylvania Professor Shaun Harper, Ph.D., entitled, "Black Male Student Success in Higher Education," shares insight into what academically successful Black male college students attribute to their success. One of the contributing factors to their success articulated by the young men is "parent expectations." I am elated that Dr. Harper has published such scholarly work to further guide home-school conversations around the importance of nurturing, supporting, encouraging, and expecting academic excellence of all students. 


This issue also outlines the importance of parents and students accepting a proactive role in student course planning and college preparation to ensure that more students are prepared for STEM-related postsecondary opportunities and careers. As in each issue, there are important links to scholarships, internships, and summer programs. Deadlines are approaching, so please pass on to students and families you know could benefit. 





Do You Know Your Gifts?

Dalton Sherman
Dalton Sherman

I had the opportunity to share the stage with Dalton Sherman, a current middle school student and future Morehouse man. Dalton currently attends the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. Many know Dalton from the YouTube video of his speech to over 20,000 Dallas Independent School District teachers and support staff, "Do You Believe in Me?" Dalton and I spoke to an audience comprised primarily of young men at the Closing the Achievement Gap: Cutting the Pipeline to Prison Conference held recently in Columbia, South Carolina. I had the opportunity to share my story of, "The Eagles who Thought They were Chickens," as I encouraged both the young men gathered and their mentors to spread their wings and follow their dreams. Dalton spoke from the heart as he posed the question to parents and teachers, "Do you believe in me?" He also posed the question to students, "Do you believe in yourself?"

These two simple questions, "Do you believe in me?" and "Do you believe in yourself?" challenges parents, teachers, and students to engage in much needed self-reflection. When parents and teachers communicate their belief in their children and students, they invariably are looking for students' gifts and talents, potential and possibilities. A common theme in student achievement research is the importance of parent and teacher expectations and their belief in student potential and student achievement.

Click here to
Increasing Black Male College Access and Success

Pictured here is University of Pennsylvania Professor SProfessor Shaun Harper, Ph.D.haun R. Harper, Ph.D. Dr. Harper is the author of the study, "Black Male Student Success in Higher Education," which provides a different research perspective as to the plight of Black males in gaining access to, and succeeding in higher education. Rather than proceeding from a deficit-based perspective seeking to identify data and focus on the challenges to Black male educational attainment, Dr. Harper examines the support mechanisms and assets of Black males who have successfully navigated P-16 education into advanced degrees and a broad range of careers.


Dr. Harper provides important insight into the importance of reframing deficit-oriented questions into an anti-deficit framework. Reframing such questions as:


  • Why do so few Black male students enroll in college?
  • Why are Black male students' grade point averages often the lowest among both sexes and all racial/ethnic groups on many campuses?



  • How were aspirations for postsecondary education cultivated among Black male students who are currently enrolled in college?
  • What resources are most effective in helping Black male achievers earn GPAs above 3.0 in a variety or majors, including STEM fields?


The Black males interviewed in the study provide important insight for parents, teachers, faith-based organizations, and community programs interested in developing strategies, which will provide the necessary nurturing, encouragement, and support to cultivate more Black male success stories.


Click here to


Secrets for Motivating, Educating, and Lifting the Spirit...

I was honored to write the opening chapter for the book, "The Secrets for Motivating, Educating, and Lifting the Spirit of African American Males." The book is the brainchild of Ernest H. Johnson, Ph.D., president of the Champions for Peace Leadership and Mastermind Institute and longtime professional development coordinator for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).  


The book further reinforces important themes in Dr. Harper's research. In the Preface, Dr. Johnson notes,


"All Black boys have dreams...They want to believe that deep down in their souls that they have a special gift, that they can make a difference, that they can touch others in some special way, and that they can have an impact on the world. At one time in their lives, they had a vision about the life they desired. Yet, for many, those dreams have become so shrouded in the frustrations and routines of being a student in an unfriendly environment that they no longer make an effort to even think about their dreams." 


The book contains a collection of essays that cultivate a deeper understanding of the young African American male and provide information on a wide range of techniques, strategies, and interventions that may be used to stir the minds of young men who have slipped through the cracks in the educational system. The book is important reading for parents, teachers, and policymakers concerned with providing intervention and cultivating high levels of achievement for Black males.
STEM Education

Although STEM-related careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are considered to represent the most important employment and highest paying job/career opportunities of the future, the recent report by the Fordham Institute, "The State of State Science Standards," reports that most states are not preparing students for these type of jobs or careers.


In the report, 24 states received a grade of 'D' or 'F' for their level of math/science education: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  


Only five states and the District of Columbia received a grade of 'A' or 'A-': California, District of Columbia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia.


Two Million Minutes - A Global Examination
Two Million Minutes - A Global Examination

Considering that children of color and children attending high poverty schools are more likely to have inexperienced teachers and teachers who did not major in their subject-area, parents must become even more vigilant in ensuring that their children are learning the level of math and science required to pursue STEM-related college majors and careers. The documentary film, 2 million minutes sounds an ominous alarm that if U.S. students attending the best schools are behind such countries as China and India in math and science achievement, what should that tell us about the rest? 


Keeping Black Males in Class
Discipline rates

Increasing the percentage of Black males graduating from college will require that we do more to address the challenges they face in navigating their way from kindergarten through the twelfth grade. One of the greatest challenges is the disproportionate rate in which they are suspended and expelled from school-a major contributing factor to low student performance and grade retention. A New York Times article examines recently released U.S. Department of Education data:

"Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection's 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation's students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school."

The data revealed that one in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Overall, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled from school as were their white peers. The report also noted that over 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black.

Identifying the Right Summer Programs
Space Camp

The February 26, 2012 workshop, "How to Identify the Best Summer Programs," hosted by the Turner Chapel AME Church's Education Ministry outlined important considerations for parents and students as they plan their summers and continue preparing for college. The workshop expanded on information contained in the book, "A High School Plan for Students with College-Bound Dreams:"

"Your experiences, such as where you have traveled, the type of communities where you have lived, the organizations with which you have participated contribute to your intangibles (p. 101). The summer months between 8th grade and your senior year of high school should not be squandered. Take advantage of the many opportunities to explore your talents, interests, and abilities (p. 163)."

Student Profile
Kimberly H.
Marcus Awardee
Pictured here is Kimberly, who, as a sixth-grader was the recipient of the Turner Chapel AME Church's Cassandra Young Marcus Award for Academic Excellence by having the highest overall GPA for sixth grade females. This year, as a seventh-grader, Kimberly scored a 1600 on the SAT. This score was higher than half of all college-bound high school seniors in each area:
  • Reading (500)
  • Math (560)
  • Writing (540)  
As a seventh-grader, Kimberly's SAT scores already qualify her for admission into some of America's most selective colleges and universities. Kimberly's goal is to score a perfect 2400 on the SAT by ninth grade.

Kimberly has attended the CRCT Prep sessions offered each year by the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry, is a regular attendee at our college-planning workshops, and is regularly recognized at the bi-annual academic celebrations recognizing students with a 3.0 GPA of higher
. Kimberly's academic success further illustrates the Dr. Harper's research findings: 
  • Kimberly is self-motivated to pursue academic excellence
  • Kimberly has a single parent (mother) who encourages and supports her efforts, and is actively involved in church and school-based programs to support her daughter
  • Kimberly is involved in church and community-based programs that encourages and supports her academic achievement, social development, and provides her with important college-planning knowledge and guidance 

Academic excellence is not the result of luck or chance, it is the result of a commitment by parents and students and the support of schools and communities. If more parents and teachers become vested in student success we can substantially increase the number of children who are academically prepared to pursue STEM-related college majors and enter into STEM-related jobs and careers. Because we are vested in the success of our children, our May newsletter will profile the students and the colleges we send them off to at our May 27, 2012 High School Graduation Celebration. Our students have already been offered admissions to HBCUs, the Ivy League, and highly competitive colleges and universities throughout the country. We are vested in their success and celebrate in their achievements.    

Speaking Engagements...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012:  Expanding Your Child's Math and Science Knowledge. Parent presentation at Murphey-Candler Elementary School.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012: The Importance of Faith-based Partnerships. Workshop presentation at the Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement.


Thursday and Friday, March 22-23, 2012: Keynote address, two breakout sessions, and book signing at the Superintendent's Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity Conference.


Saturday, March 24, 2012: Keynote address, small group conversations, and book signing at the University of Louisville Minority Teacher Recruitment Project (MTRP).




Saturday, April 14, 2012: Keynote address and book signing at the Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) Summit at Newberry College.


Read more ...


Saturday, April 21, 2012: Increasing Student Achievement: Strategies that Work! Hosted by the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida.


Saturday, April 28, 2012: The "4-1-1 of College Planning: It's All About Strategy." Parent and student presentation at Towers High School.   

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