Equity & Diversity

Inside One School’s Approach to Educating Young Black Men

November 07, 2017 2 min read
Students walk between classes at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Effects of Poverty and Trauma on Students:

The statistics for black males are as sobering as they are well-known. In America’s public schools, they are disproportionately suspended or expelled. They are among the least likely to graduate from high school and go onto college. And they are more likely than any other group to be incarcerated.

Upending those outcomes is the mission of Ron Brown College Prep, a citywide public high school that is now in its second year.

The school provides single-gender education. Its faculty is predominately African-American men. It has a CARE team of social workers, counselors, a psychologist, and other professionals devoted solely to the social-emotional needs of the school’s students.

At the center of the school’s ethos is restorative justice, which holds students accountable for their misbehavior by making amends with the peers or teachers they offend, rather than suspending or otherwise excluding them. Students regularly visit college campuses, take overseas trips, and meet high-profile leaders in city government, journalism, and other fields—opportunities for enrichment that are rare in low-income schools.

None of those interventions by themselves is unique, but perhaps unlike any other school, Ron Brown is betting on a robust investment in all of them that together, the school’s supporters believe can make a significant difference in the lives of its young men.

To dive deeper into the complex issues highlighted in our reporting on Ron Brown College Prep, we’ve curated a list of Education Week articles and Commentaries:

Single-Gender Education:

Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, the executive director of the ACLU of the District of Columbia explains the legal hurdles to opening single-gender schools in the public school sector.

Erin Pahlke, an assistant professor of psychology at Whitman College, discusses what research has shown so far on the effectiveness of single-gender education.

Single-Gender Schools Prove Best for Some Students
Study Finds Single-Sex Schools Benefit Some—But Not All
Black Boys’ Educational Plight Spurs Single-Gender Schools
Commentary: Why Science Doesn’t Support Single-Sex Classes

Restorative Justice:

VIDEO: Psychologist Explains How Restorative Justice Works in High School for Young Men of Color
A District That Ditched In-School Suspensions
‘Restorative Justice’ Offers Alternative Discipline Approach
Commentary: How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail
Commentary: Restorative Justice: The Zero-Tolerance-Policy Overcorrection

Black Male Educators:

Study: Black Students More Likely to Graduate If They Have One Black Teacher
Black Male Teachers a Dwindling Demographic
Commentary: Black Teachers Matter. School Integration Doesn’t
Commentary: Where Are the Black Male Teachers?

Effects of Poverty and Trauma on Students:

VIDEO: Teaching Empathy to Combat Trauma
Author: To Reach Struggling Students, Schools Need to Be More Trauma-Sensitive’
Commentary: Student Trauma Is Real. But Connection Can Heal.
Commentary: The Brain Science Behind Student Trauma
Commentary: Five Steps for Trauma-Informed Ed. Leadership

Grading/Social Promotion:

Districts Weigh Student Retention With Stigma of Being ‘Held-Back’
More States Retaining Struggling 3rd Graders
Commentary: There Is No Such Thing as Social Promotion

Compiled by Librarian Maya Riser-Kositsky.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Which Students Are Most Likely to Be Arrested in School?
A student’s race, gender, and disability status all heavily factor into which students are arrested.
3 min read
A sign outside the United States Government Accountability Office in central
iStock/Getty Images
Equity & Diversity Opinion Are Your Students the Protagonists of Their Own Educations?
A veteran educator spells out three ways student agency can deepen learning and increase equity.
Jennifer D. Klein
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of opening the magic book on dark background.
GrandFailure/iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Opinion Enrollment Down. Achievement Lackluster. Should This School Close?
An equity researcher describes how coming district-reorganization decisions can help preserve Black communities in central cities.
Francis A. Pearman
5 min read
Illustration: Sorry we are closed sign hanging outside a glass door.
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity School Librarians Are Creating Free Book Fairs. Here's How
School librarians are turning to free book fairs in an effort to get more books to children in poverty.
9 min read
Students at Mount Vernon Library in Raleigh, N.C., pose with free books after their book fair. School librarian Julia Stivers started the free book fair eight years ago, in an effort to make the traditional book fair more equitable. Alternative versions of book fairs have been cropping up as a way to help students' build their own personal library, without the costs associated with traditional book fair models.
Students at Mount Vernon Library in Raleigh, N.C., pose with free books after their book fair. School librarian Julia Stivers started the free book fair eight years ago, in an effort to make the traditional book fair more equitable. Alternative versions of book fairs have been cropping up as a way to help students' build their own personal library, without the costs associated with traditional book fair models.
Courtesy of Julia Stivers