Tiara Renee Ellis (second third from left) was recently recognized as the top seller among Milwaukee area Girl Scouts, selling 2,025 boxes of Girl Scouts cookies. Her tremendous achievement was recognized during the Regional Cookie Conference held last weekend at Nathan Hale High School, 11601 W. Lincoln Ave., in West Allis. Pictured with Ellis are (left to right): Jerry Ellis, Tiara’s father; Christy L. Brown, CEO-Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southwest; Kathy Hernandez, Tiara’s troop leader; and Tiara’s mother Gina Ellis. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Article courtesy of African American Images
Understanding what makes African American boys tick has challenged many a parent and educator, but youth mentor and author Kevin Todd Porter may finally have cracked the code on the struggles this group faces in the classroom. Porter’s debut book, Angry Little Men: Hypermasculinity, Academic Disconnect and Mentoring African American Males,examines Hypermasculinity among Black boys and its threat to academic achievement.
Racism and poverty are known contributors of negative outcomes among youth, but few have investigated the developmental trajectory that leads to academic failure among African American males. According to the Council of the Great City Schools (2010), only 12 percent of Black boys read at or above grade level by fourth grade, compared to 38 percent of White males. In some inner city communities, the Black male dropout rate hovers at around 50 percent or more.
Picking up where “at-risk” theories stalled decades ago, Porter examines two key developmental factors to understanding Black boys’ academic performance: Hypermasculinity and academic self-concept.
Hypermasculinity is “male bravado”-a boastful, sexual, and confrontational mindset and code of behavior valued by Black males and scorned by mainstream society. Anger is the engine that drives Hypermasculinity, a survival mechanism in high risk communities used to instill fear and respect and that is prevalent in urban classrooms.
“Education is way down on a list of priorities that might include drugs, gangs, chasing girls, or just trying to survive a disruptive home life,” says Porter. “Our boys know that education can offer a brighter future, but maintaining a street image trumps doing homework, studying for tests, and behaving in the classroom.”
Porter closely studied the second developmental factor, academic self-concept (self-esteem), among a group of at-risk African American teens and found that despite failing grades, Black boys tend to rate highly in academic self-concept compared with other groups. “Clearly, Black boys are not accurately understanding their own school performance,” says Porter. “They believe they are doing much better than their grades indicate. Furthermore, they tend to blame others, especially teachers, for their troubles in the classroom.”
Becoming aware of these developmental challenges is the first step to equipping youth to succeed in school and in life. A mentor to at-risk Black boys for more than 20 years, Porter offers his C.O.D.E model for mentorship:
- 1. Help youth to connect to a vision.
- 2. Observe and moderate personal behaviors.
- 3. Practice self-discipline.
- 4. Emulate positive examples.
The “emptiness” next to Bethel Baptist Church disappeared on October 27, 2012, when the Kindred Ties bus shelter, unceremoniously reappeared on the site it inhabited for the past six years.
Evelyn Patricia Terry, creator of Kindred Ties, offered her perspective on its importance as a public art piece that establishes a sense of place in the African American community and celebrates nurturing families, spiritual awareness, global knowledge, and educational achievement.
“Kindred Ties represents our history, culture, values, and what we incessantly speak of – thereby coalescing my ideas, the community’s ideas, and other artists’ ideas to share with the world,” Terry said.
Located in the busy six points’ intersection of 21st Street, W. Fond du Lac Avenue, and W. North Avenue the bus shelter’s disappearance March 17, bewildered Kindred Ties’ artists, employees in Seaway Bank across the street, and many concerned community organizers.
“What could have happened?” they asked Terry. Although as a public art piece, it now belonged to the community, Terry felt invested to solve the mystery. She eventually tracked it down through Sandy Kellner, Chief Operating Officer of the Milwaukee County Transit System.
Kellner explained that, hit by a car, Kindred Ties’ damaged frame forced immediate removal. This happened about Saint Patrick’s Day. In partial view to passersby, it rested in MCTS’ back lot on 17th Street, near Fond du Lac Avenue.
After establishing contact with Dean Amhaus, former Spirit of Milwaukee’s Executive Director and Ed Mordy, Spirit of Milwaukee’s financial consultant, a new bus shelter frame was purchased. Millennium Neighborhood Art Initiative, the original project host, provided restoration funds. The funds permitted the unharmed sixteen colorful welded sculpture images to be successfully transferred to a new bus shelter and the repaired Kindred Ties to be reunited with embedded bronze plaques at the original site.
After seeing it repaired, Terry said: “The positive energy that Kindred Ties summoned up for its creation and then for its restoration is extremely gratifying and speaks volumes to Milwaukee’s cooperative leaders. And Kindred Ties is appreciated. Offering unsolicited comments during installation, several transit users said, to me, that they were pleasantly surprised to have such a nice and different object in their neighborhood. Many were also surprised to learn that an African American woman originated the concept and secured funds to hire diverse Milwaukee artists and businesses to manifest Kindred Ties.”
Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts to the cheers of the fans as he leaves the field after a win over the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 35-27. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
by Hassan Washington, theGrio
Cam Newton has launched a new initiative to benefit three Charlotte area schools. Through his charitable foundation which bears his name, Newton made a $150,000 donation to the schools in attempt to help boost school spirit and achievement.
Bradley Middle School in Huntersville, Thomasboro Academy and Randolph Middle School in Charlotte each received $50,000.
The donations were made with the purpose of developing customized programs to enhance cultural environment, as well as increase student achievement, boost student engagement, and advance health and wellness, the Christian Post reports.
The initiative is all a part of the foundation’s “School Pride Program,” which also has famous sports game developer EA Sports as a partner.
Cam didn’t just donate funds. Tuesday, he appeared at Randolph Middle School, speaking for 30 minutes in front of a packed gym of 450 students, according to the Charlotte Observer. (Students from the other schools were present, too)
“It’s not something I was forced to do,” Newton told the Charlotte Observer. “I wanted to do that.”
Newton says he wants to develop a relationship with the schools and see how the kids are doing.
He spoke with football teams at Bradley and Randolph, inviting the quarterback of each squad to join him on the gym floor. He also called academic, science and Special Olympic award winners down from the bleachers, asked students questions and shared jokes.
The scene was a far cry from what followed a tough Panthers loss earlier in the season. According to reports, Newton was smiling and ‘in his element’.
TheGrio: Cam Newton to launch clothing line
The Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission (GJJC) has announced that Marshall Trudo is the recipient of the 2012 Tony Maggiore Youth Excellence Award. Trudo, a June 2011 graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools who is currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and looking to major in accounting, is being recognized for significant positive achievements he has made in his academic and personal life despite obstacles presented due to early negative choices and resulting consequences.
Trudo will be presented with the award at 11:45 a.m. during Tuesday’s GJJC meeting at the Racine Marriott Hotel, 7111 Washington Avenue (State Highway 20), Racine WI 53406. He will also be presented with a letter of congratulations from MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton, who noted that Trudo’s success “makes all of us at Milwaukee Public Schools proud.”
Trudo was nominated for the award by those familiar with his accomplishments due to his participation in the St. Charles Youth and Family Services’ “Welcome Home Project.” He was described as “an exceptional young man who has definite leadership skills and potential” by Lawrence Thomas of the St. Charles staff. Thomas noted that Trudo began his classes at UWM while completing his high school studies and overcoming issues that included a brief period of homelessness and his mother suffering a heart attack.
The Youth Excellence Award is named for Anthony Maggiore, a former adjunct professor at UWM and Associate Director of the Social Development Commission who served as a member of the GJCC and worked tirelessly to design and develop programs designed to benefit children, families, the elderly and the homeless. Maggiore spearheaded national efforts to create energy assistance programs for low-income families and served as the research director of the Milwaukee Homicide Project.
Trudo has been active in community volunteer efforts, having worked with the Wisconsin League of Young Voters in their campaign against violence, the Next Door Foundation’s “Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative” and organizing car was fundraising.
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving nearly 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000.
Kurt Carr will be the recipient of this year’s James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award. Bishop TD Jakes will receive the Thomas A. Dorsey Most Notable Achievement Award and Inez Andrews has been named the recipient of the Ambassador Dr. Bobby Jones Legends Award.
Highlight of Top Nominees:
Mary Mary – Total Nominations 9 Group/Duo of the Year, Song of the Year, Contemporary Group/Duo of the Year, Contemporary CD of the Year, Urban Inspirational Single or Performance, Special Event CD of the Year, Producer of the Year, Music Video of the Year and Recorded Music Packaging of the Year
Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago – Total Nominations 8 Artist of the Year, New Artist of the Year, CD of the Year, Choir of the Year, Song of the Year, Traditional CD of the Year, Traditional Choir of the Year and Pre-Recorded Music Packaging.
District embraces higher standards that show more work needs to be done across state
Most MPS schools rated in new state report cards are growing student achievement better than or at least roughly as well as the state as a whole.
But as expected, the new Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction school report cards show that schools across the state – including those in Milwaukee Public schools – must do more to prepare students for college and career success.
That’s because the report cards use state standardized tests from fall 2009, fall 2010 and fall 2011 – and re-score them using a tougher standard for success, one based upon the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The higher standard does not mean students have achieved less than was first reported when test scores were released – it means they must achieve more to be prepared for college and careers.
“We embrace higher standards because our students and parents deserve them. The results are not unexpected because we know we’ve seen growth in academic achievement but we also know we have much more work to do. And we know that the steps we are taking in Milwaukee Public Schools will help our students meet those higher standards,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.
Those steps include:
– Continued implementation of the district’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan and Comprehensive Math/Science Plan tied to the rigorous Common Core State Standards adopted in Wisconsin and more than 40 other states
– Increased use of data to grow student achievement
– Expanded use of a strong model to identify and grow excellent teaching
– An improved tutoring program with highly-qualified teachers and more tutoring hours – and the development of 10 new MPS GE Foundation Demonstration Schools to develop innovative methods for using the Common Core to improve student achievement
by Taki S. Raton
The Milwaukee Chapter of Tennessee State University National Alumni will host its 4th Annual Scholarship Luncheon Sunday, October 28, 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in Brown Deer, 8900 North Kildeer Court.
This gathering will celebrate the academic achievements of seven students attending the Tennessee State campus from the Milwaukee area. The goal is to raise funds for additional scholarships and to serve as a support resource for students currently attending or interested in attending TSU according to Milwaukee chapter president Gregory Williams.
The event will additionally observe this 2012 year noting the 100th Anniversary of Tennessee State University as a land grant Historically Black College (HBCU).
The scholarship recipients are freshman Justin Green, sophomore Diamanni Redmond, juniors Michaiah Hinds, Khamaria Breean Wright, and Javalon J. Jones, and seniors Rhia R. Nelson and LaQuita Grannage
Vincent P. Lyles, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee will be the guest speaker at this luncheon.
A product of Milwaukee Public Schools’ Madison High School, Lyles is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin Law School. As President & CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, he oversees a budget of more than $22 million and is responsible for 39 Boys & Girls Club locations, including Camp Whitcomb/Mason and the more than 35,000 members served annually.
Lyles has been on the forefront of revitalizing some of the poorest neighborhoods and areas most in need in Milwaukee and across the nation. He previously served as president of M&I Community Development Corporation (CDC) where he expanded M&I CDC’s investment portfolio from $53 million to approximately $130 million. Prior to joining M&I CDC, he was a director with Robert W. Baird & Co. and provided financial advice to Wisconsin municipalities, school districts and special taxing units. Lyles is married and has two children.
The Milwaukee chapter is one of the largest Tennessee State University (TSU) alumni chapters in the country with over 300 graduates. Over 500 students from the Milwaukee and greater Southeastern Wisconsin area are presently in attendance on the TSU campus.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee State University was founded in 1912 as an African American normal school. It became a 4-year school in 1922 and received university status in 1958. The institution as it is known today was the result of a 1979 merger between Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville. The campus awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Tennessee State describes its mission in part as one of “providing quality academic programs which are broadly comprehensive at the baccalaureate and masters levels.” The University’s most popular majors include Business Administration, Nursing, Statistics, and Biology. Cooperate partnerships provide experience and contacts beneficial to students upon graduation when students are seeking employment.
The total enrollment of 8,254 students are able to major in a number of different schools and colleges such as the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, Technology & Computer Science, the College of Health Sciences, the School of Agriculture & Consumer Science, and the School of Nursing. There is additionally a School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Institute of Government.
Distinguished TSU alumni include talk show host Ophrah Winfrey, Myra Edwards and Kimberly Montgomery, both of the Mayor’s Office, City of Milwaukee, historian and UWM professor Dr. Harold Rose, actor Moses Gunn, NBA player Anthony Mason, Hall of Famers Richard Dent and Ed “Too Tall” Jones, journalist Carl Rowan, Senator Harold Ford, gospel producer Bobby Jones, singer Yolanda Adams and Ron Brown, former Secretary of the Department of Commerce.
Tickets for this Scholarship Luncheon are $35 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling (414) 353-2769 or 372-7982.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program has received federal funding for an additional five years, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education.
The McNair program is a federally funded initiative to prepare students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds for graduate-level study. It is named for the African American astronaut who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion.
UWM’s McNair program is one of the longest running in the country. However, continued funding was threatened earlier this year when the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to transfer $10 million from the McNair program to other programs to prepare young people for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Of the 203 programs nationally, only 134 had their funding continued.
The University of Wisconsin System and UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell were vocal in their support of the McNair program, according to Carmen Aguilar, director, and Donte McFadden, associate director. The McNair program also received help and support from numerous members of the administration, faculty and staff in preparing and supporting the grant renewal proposal, they added.
UWM was one of 12 programs in the State of Wisconsin to receive continued funding through 2017, according to Aguilar and McFadden. “As one of the original 14 McNair programs nationally, our institution will continue to prepare low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students for graduate study,” Aguilar added. “Special thanks to Senator Herb Kohl and Congresswoman Gwen Moore for their tireless support of the TRIO programs [McNair is part of TRIO], and the efforts of their staffs in voicing our concerns about these decisions to the Department of Education.”