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    African American Male Advisory Committee Honored at Board Meeting
    Posted on 05/01/2018
    Anthony Shoecraft speaks at a podium during a school board meeting

    African American Male Advisory Committee Honored at Board Meeting

    “If you want to go quickly, then go alone. If you want to go far, then go together.” Anthony Shoecraft, speaker representative of the African American Male Advisory Committee (AAMAC) shared this African proverb to describe the impactful journey of AAMAC at the last Board meeting in April.

    Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors honored AAMAC at the board’s April 25 meeting for AAMAC’s partnership with the district, specifically for their focus on eliminating opportunity gaps.

    In 2015, the African American Male Think Tank developed a set of foundational recommendations for the district to improve the quality of life and education for all African-American males within Seattle Public Schools. One year later, those recommendations evolved with the formation of AAMAC, at the request of Superintendent Larry Nyland.

    AAMAC was charged by Superintendent Nyland to provide guidance on systemic transformation to ensure educational excellence with equity for all Seattle Public Schools students, particularly African-American males. The committee set out to put a fresh set of eyes on district progress and to develop a set of recommendations in alignment with the charge. Their work focused on advancing the district’s “Four Ps;” Positive Beliefs, Positive Relationships, Positive Learning and Positive Partnerships.

    More than 50 individuals representing Seattle Public Schools, higher education, local business, government leaders and community members have committed and are deeply invested in better outcomes for African-American males through AAMAC.

    Throughout the 2016-17 school year, AAMAC reviewed existing Seattle Public Schools structures and their subsequent impact on African-American male achievement. After a thorough community engagement process, AAMAC submitted recommendations to Superintendent Nyland in September 2017.

    “This extraordinary report represents thousands and thousands of hours of folks’ [work],” Board President Harris exclaimed as she held up the report at the board meeting. “It is on our website, and we encourage you to read it.”

    After receiving the report in 2017, Superintendent Nyland assigned ownership of the recommendations to key departments and directed each to incorporate the recommendations in their existing work plans, as well as identify procedural supports for using them.

    The Nation is Watching

    Shoecraft spoke at the board meeting about the national scope of AAMAC’s work, “One of the nation’s leaders in this movement for Black male achievement is the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Every two years they release a report, Promise of Place. Seattle made the largest gain of all metropolitan cities as of January 2017 in this year’s report. The work of AAMAC was cited in that report!”

    Members of AAMAC present an award to Superintendent NylandAfter sharing the history and the next steps of the committee, AAMAC appealed to the Board of Directors on six points. On behalf of the board, Director Harris was enthusiastic in working toward honoring the following:

    • Continue the momentum with a focus on African-American males
    • Focus on ensuring the goals of School Board Policy #0030
    • Continue the elementary moratorium on suspensions
    • Honor the spirit of the state’s opportunity gap bill
    • Continue to work alongside the superintendent
    • A future work session with city and school district around initiatives supporting Black males

    In closing, AAMAC honored Superintendent Nyland with tokens of gratitude for his leadership; a certificate of appreciation and a book for him to read during retirement.

    School Board, Superintendent Nyland, staff and AAMAC pose for a photo  at the board meeting.