On June 13-22, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP) presented “Black Excellence Undenied,” which was a six-day symposium with workshops held for administrators, teachers, parents and community members. Over 400 people attended.
The symposium was held at Dymally High School in South Los Angeles. There was a two-day planning institute for administrative teams, a two-day planning institute for classroom teachers and a two-day conference for teachers, parents, community members and leaders.
The focus was on culturally appropriate education as well as resources and strategies to engage Black students. Teachers had the opportunity to brainstorm, share best practices, and plan empowering interdisciplinary units focused on the goal of increasing the academic achievement of Black students.
There was also an emphasis on the social-emotional development and mental health and well-being of black students. Powerful and dynamic presentations were given on topics such as: Parenting with a Purpose, Compassionate Leadership, Using Student Voices, Effectively Teaching Black Adolescents, Building Relationships, Culturally Appropriate Instruction, Empowering Black Women, and Informed Approaches to Student Engagement Based of injuries.
The Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP) was approved by the LAUSD Board of Education in February of the 2020-21 school year. The allocation of funds is designed to address long-standing disparities in educational outcomes between black students and their non-black peers. The current social landscape and emphasis on social justice and equal opportunity in America inspired this initiative.
The BSAP program provides additional resources to LAUSD schools that have the highest numbers of black students. These schools are staffed with school climate advocates, restorative justice teachers, psychiatric social workers, and counselors who work as a team to ensure that Black students are engaged, supported, and mentored throughout their educational careers in LAUSD.
The event was developed by BSAP’s Administrative Coordinators of Education (ACI’s), under the direction of Dr. G. “Fletch” Fletcher, who originally pitched the idea to BSAP leadership along with co-coordinator Michelle Bryant.
“The summer planning sessions were a necessary event. Teachers are willing to do the work, but the lack of time to create meaningful lessons around a culturally appropriate curriculum is the barrier teachers face. These sessions provide networking, sharing of best practices, review of culturally relevant activities and continuous planning time,” Bryant said.
“The BSAP institutes and conferences helped teachers and administrators engage in discussions and begin planning for the 2022-2023 school year. Attendees engaged in deep reflection, identified team and school strengths, and areas for improvement,” said Fletcher.
“Both the conference and the institute supported more than 400 participants, where they were able to deepen the knowledge of teachers and administrators. Going forward, we plan to continue implementing more planning institutes, always using best practices and the latest research aimed at improving the academic achievement of black students,” he added.
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