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    Four student pose for a photo together

    "Success is seen as being famous or rich. We only talk about Black Excellence in relation to people like Obama, but by doing so, we are limiting that definition to 'I need to be a famous athlete or President of the U.S.' to be successful. Black Excellence, is also having a normal life, feeling like you are part of the community…"
    - Seattle Public Schools Student


    The Department of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) directly aligns with the Seattle Excellence, the district's strategic plan and the collective commitment to unapologetically support and serve students and families furthest from educational justice.

    Public school systems that have made significant gains for African American males have stand-alone departments focused on student support and advancement.

    Seattle Public Schools is the first district in Washington state and one of the few across the nation to create a department that intentionally cultivates the cultural and academic strengths of African American male students while simultaneously addressing needs.

    The Department of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) was launched in 2019 to ensure Seattle Public Schools has the culture, conditions, competencies, and community connections needed for all Black and African American boys and young male students to be successful.

    Excellence is inherent in our black boys and young men, but for far too long public education hasn’t acknowledged or intentionally cultivated their cultural brilliance, academic strengths, and potential. Creation of AAMA is evidence of the district’s formal commitment to support the Black Excellence of our African American male students and create the school system that they deserve. 

    This important work is everyone’s work. From the bus stop to the board room we will collaboratively develop a unified vision for African American boys and young men in Seattle Public Schools, so people will act in concurrence and our students will thrive.

    What does AAMA do?

    The Department of AAMA critically examines our systemic practices through a racial equity lens to assess and build capacity for our system to engage, empower and educate our Black boys and young male students. Seattle Public Schools’ AAMA was created to directly address anti-black institutional and structural racism by creating educational systems, structures, and spaces that guarantee success for all AAM students in SPS.

    We will be a school system that loves black boys and youth and focuses not on fixing students but disrupting and fixing the racist systems that marginalize and limit them. By using data, including the wisdom of our community, we will identify access points into schools and systems to increase racial justice, improve the cultural responsiveness of our educators, and implement antiracist practices that support all African American boys and young men.

     AAMA Logo

    Department of African American Male Achievement

    Contact us


    Photo of Mia Williams in graduation robes in front of a school sign

    Dr. Mia Williams
    Executive Director
    Department of African American Male Achievement

    Read more about Dr. Williams.

    Haizlip and Loyal pose for a photo together

    Adam Haizlip
    Department of African American Male Achievement

    Kevin Loyal
    Department of African American Male Achievement

    Read more about Adam Haizlip and Kevin Loyal.


    Four Strategic Areas of Focus

    We are focused on implementing improvements in four strategic areas: culture, conditions, competencies, and community connection.

    Key 2019-20 Initiatives:

    The focus on supporting African American boys and young men in not a new focus for SPS. Over the years there has been great work accomplished and some marked progress. Through the establishment of the Department of AAMA we will bring coherence to the work both inside Seattle Public Schools and in the community. Together we will develop a powerful roadmap, one that builds on work underway and better leverages the unique expertise and skills of many stakeholders.

    The Department of AAMA staff will be focused on the following 2019-20 key initiatives in alignment with the department’s four strategic focus areas (culture, conditions, competencies, and community connection):

    • Listening and Learning Campaign: The Department of African American Achievement will engage in listening and learning with students, families, and the broader community. These conversations will set the foundation for development of a multi-year work plan and bring coherence to the district and community’s efforts focused on the advancement and achievement of AAM.
    • Landscape Audit: In order to improve culture, conditions, and adult competencies the district must identify promising practices and areas of opportunity. This school year, the Department of AAMA will be researching both national and local best practices and models and producing a report outlining recommendations for next steps and prioritized work for 2020-21 and beyond.
    • African American Male Student Council: Student voice and perspective are central to the success of these efforts. As we plan and refine our approach, an AAM Student Council will be launched. This council will report directly to the AAMA department and will help guide the key work and hold the district accountable.
    • Informational Campaign: In support of the district’s commitment to African American males, we will launch a communication campaign so that the broader community is aware of the department’s work and how they can get involved. We will intentionally engage with our community, staff, and students to amplify their stories and disseminate powerful narratives of Black Excellence.

    This year’s work will culminate in a community forum in late spring 2020 to share research conducted during the AAMA Listen and Learn tour, the landscape audit, and next steps.