What’s New

October 15, 2019

Strategic Roadmap Discussions with Accenture

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Black Men Teach continues working behind the scenes to develop near and long-term milestones, including mission alignment and the development of our organization’s roadmap.

In late September, we had the invaluable opportunity to hear from thought-leaders at Accenture in Minneapolis, who shared their research on students, teachers and prospective teachers of color in the Twin Cities area and where we will be most effective as we strive to provide all students to have the opportunity to attend schools staffed with racially and culturally diverse teachers and leaders.

Accenture’s thorough examination of our marketplace and our goals suggest our mission is on track as we focus on “the what, the how, and the why.”  With a continued focus on building relationships and our funding base, this roadmap includes activating stakeholder engagement, developing our community outreach plan, finalizing our school partnerships and executing a black community-led recruitment strategy.

We are indebted to the work that Accenture has done to help guide our future and look forward to continuing on our path to improve academic success and life outcomes for black elementary school students by building strategic community partnerships that create the environment and conditions where black male teachers can thrive.  Special thanks to David Wilson, Christy Sovereign, Trey Gladney and Kevin Idahor.

October 10, 2019

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Congratulations to our Board Chair, Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed!

We are pleased to share with you notice of an honor recently bestowed upon our chair, Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed, named “Superintendent to Watch,” by the National School Public Relations Association.

The Superintendent to Watch award honors superintendents who have fewer than five years of experience and who are on track to be remarkable leaders. Superintendents who earn the award are strong communicators who demonstrate active, visible involvement in their districts. They engage their community in multiple ways and model strong communication for staff.  Rhoda is just two years into her superintendent position with Hopkins, yet she has completed an ambitious number of tasks related to communication and engagement, created a leadership academy for principals and department leaders, and focused on ways to authentically engage disenfranchised audiences. Rhoda brings these same skills and personal qualities to her role as chair of Black Men Teach, where she has assisted in building a board of remarkable leaders in education and business, and enlisted a number of K-12 and higher education partners to collaborate in our work of increasing the number of black male educators in the Twin Cities.

September 16, 2019

A welcome to Tamiko Thomas, our new Board Member!  See the Who We Are section to find out more about Tamiko and to correspond with her.

September 3, 2019

Black Men Teach is pleased to announce the appointment of Josh Thelemann to the position of Interim Program Manager.

“This appointment marks a significant milestone in the development of Black Men Teach,” said BMT Board Chair Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed.  “With the start of the school year, the BMT consortium of community partners is launching its collective impact approach to increasing the number of black male educators in our elementary schools, and Josh will play a critical role in ‘quarterbacking’ this activity.”

August 13, 2019

Thanks to all the incredible men who dedicate their lives to inspiring others to greatness.

Black Male Teacher…You DID Sign Up For This

August 7, 2019

Without question, when the majority of students in public schools are students of color and only 18 percent of our teachers are teachers of color, we have an urgent need to act. We’ve got to understand that all students benefit from teacher diversity. We have strong evidence that students of color benefit from having teachers and leaders who look like them as role models and also benefit from the classroom dynamics that diversity creates. But it is also important for our white students to see teachers of color in leadership roles in their classrooms and communities. The question for the nation is how do we address this quickly and thoughtfully?

~ U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., speaking at Howard University, March 8, 2016

There are few black male candidates in the education pipeline so the problem noted by Secretary King will not be solved quickly.  Black Men Teach is addressing this issue now in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner.  Please consider supporting this important work.  Click here to invest in our mission.

 

June 12, 2019

“We are superheroes because we serve as a role model of possibilities for Black boys, present a counter narrative of negative representations of Black males in media, and continually navigate the complex educational and societal systems that often splinter our identities.”

Francis Pina, Black Male Educator

In TEACH PLUS

June 5, 2019

The Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank which focuses on education, just published a new study on the effects of student-teacher race matching, looking at how student outcomes are impacted when they have a teacher that looks like them.  The research was conducted in North Carolina by Seth Gershenson, Associate Professor of Public Policy, American University.  The full report is here, but we highly recommend you read the forward by Amber Northern and Michael Petrelli.

Student-Teacher Race Match in Charter and Traditional Public Schools

 

June 1, 2019

From time to time, Black Men Teach will be sharing testimonials and personal stories from some of our exceptional black male educators in the Twin Cities.  We thank Keenan Jones, elementary school teacher in Hopkins, for his honest and inspiring message.

WHY I TEACH  –  Keenan Jones, Hopkins Public Schools

My grandfathers grew up in an era of discrimination, racism, and segregation in the South and Midwest. They fought for literacy because they knew their fight would benefit generations after. My road to becoming an educator was not easy, especially being a Black man in America. I made it because many individuals from coaches, teachers, and specifically Black men would not allow me to fail.

In 2019, I continue to see the struggle of some of our young Black boys, many going through the same struggles I had in school and society. I feel like it’s my duty to give back and fight in the same way Black men fought for me.

When I see young people coming into the building and smiling, ecstatic about the learning day, it motivates me to know that I can help change the world by delivering a message of dreaming big and determination to these young minds. There is no profession in the world that I feel has more impact on our youth than education. For 6-7 hours a day, we can sculpt minds to think about social justice, critical thinking, science, writing, and most importantly, being a good citizen. As a Black man, I feel like my view of the world has prepared me for this profession of teaching. Prepared me to offer a unique perspective of what you can do when you reach for the stars and dream big. My reward is when my students leave the classroom with a greater sense of self, all because I provide them the space in which to do so.

However, I live with this harsh reality. Often times when I walk in to the building, I have the feeling of, “who is watching me, who doesn’t trust me, what do people think of me?” Many tell me not to feed into that, but it is tough not having colleagues that you can connect with on a personal level. Professionalism teaches you to collaborate with all, but how can you collaborate with those who at times question your intelligence? I will never forget a teacher who once told me, “The only reason students like you is because your tall, athletic, and black.” Those words have stuck with me since they were mumbled in my ears. These microaggressions happen often, but I think back to my family and those men in my family who lived in the civil rights era. Every day, I’m fighting to work harder than the last, to reduce the stereotypes about Black males in education and Black males in society. I accept the challenges that I’m faced with on the day-to-day basis, but at some point I hope that my work will tear down these walls that are up for Black males in America. All for the purpose of making it easier for future young Black male educators.

 

April 3, 2019        Board members Dr. Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed and Darrell Thompson, along with James Ewer from Prodeo Academy, provide testimony to the Minnesota State Senate E-12 Finance and Policy Committee on the benefits of teachers of color.

Click here to view the video of the testimony.