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Celebrating Students of Promise

“…We acknowledge that, at every level, there has been a fundamental failure on behalf of our African American male students  and a persistent bias against them.” 

—From the report on the Task Force on the Education of African American Males (Maryland), March 2007



On February 1, 2020, early childhood educators at tended a Maryland State Department of Education approved training titled “Addressing and Eliminating the Opportunity Gap Among African American Males in  the state of Maryland” at Johns Hopkins University. Petrea  Hicks recently presented a similar topic during NAEYC’s 2017  and 2018 annual conferences. She is the creator and facilitator of this training workshop; its intention is to continue the  conversation with grassroots initiatives, in order to support  ongoing change.

Workshop content included: 

  • Maryland’s Senate Bill 651/House Bill 425 ban and pre school suspension and expulsion recommendations. 

  • The Cooperative Children’s Book Center 2018 publishing statistics about characters from diverse backgrounds.

  • Changing the narrative from “Children at Risk” to “Children  of Promise,” and considering referring African American  males to talented/gifted programs.  

  • The evidence that when children read books with characters and themes/experiences that represent them,  they fare better than those who don’t. (These children exhibit higher comprehension, but not recall, with African  American characters and Euro-American themes/experiences; and, higher comprehension and recall with African  American characters and themes/experiences. 

Participants were introduced to and asked to share how  some Maryland community grassroots initiatives serve to develop the next generation of leaders committed to reducing the opportunity gap.


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