May  2019
REMINDER: New York State My Brother's Keeper Symposium

Friday, May 31, 2019
7:30 AM - 5:15 PM
Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

The 2019 MBK Symposium live stream video link will be available on the day of the event.

Regent Tilles, Regent Young, &
Assistant Commissioner Alston speak to participants at Long Island MBK workshop
School administrators, community organizations, and elected officials from across Long Island recently gathered for a My Brother's Keeper Workshop titled Not Just Another Program: The New York State My Brother's Keeper Initiative. This workshop provided a unique opportunity to learn about the potential impact of the evidence-based outcomes initiatives for New York State My Brother's Keeper (NYSMBK) grant-funded districts on Long Island.

The workshop was led by NYSED Assistant Commissioner for Access, Equity, and Community Engagement Dr. Anael Alston and Director of Family and Community Engagement Dr. Don Applyrs. Regent Lester W. Young, Jr. and Regent Roger Tilles also spoke at the event. Attendees learned about the benefits of joining the growing MBK movement across New York State, how to become a part of the NYSMBK community network, and how to build pipelines to opportunity.
My Brother's Keeper Community Networks

The New York State My Brother's Keeper Community Network includes more than 20 member communities that have joined the growing initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. To join the NYS MBK Community Network, the school superintendent and local government official must sign a joint letter to Commissioner Elia indicating their support of and commitment to meeting the six (6) MBK National milestones and the six (6) New York State MBK goals. Detailed instructions for becoming a New York State MBK Community can be found here. Upon becoming a member of the statewide network, a community gains the support of NYSED's Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement Services to help build a community initiative and develop a local MBK action plan.
MBK Community Network Spotlight: MBK Rising 

Regent Young, Yonkers student leader David Armah, & Dr. Alston speak on a panel at MBK Rising
In February, MBK Rising brought together the growing network of MBK communities, cross-sector leaders, young men of color, and the organizations working hard to help them achieve their dreams for a national summit in Oakland, CA.  NYSED was featured on a main stage panel discussion entitled "Started From the Bottom: Sparking Systems Change in New York and California." Regent Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr.; NYSED Assistant Commissioner Dr. Anael Alston; and Yonkers student leader and President of Saunders Trades & Technical School's MBK Chapter David Armah joined MBK representatives from California to share their approach to scaling and funding the work of My Brother's Keeper, while also advancing solutions that will lead to long-term systems change.

My Brother's Keeper Challenge Grant

The purpose of the My Brother's Keeper Challenge Grant is to incentivize and support school districts to develop and execute coherent cradle-to-college strategies aimed at improving the life outcomes for boys and young men of color.
MBK Challenge Spotlight: Yonkers

Young students and volunteer tutors at STEAM Night
The Yonkers City School District My Brother's Keeper Cross-Age Tutoring program pairs MBK high school student mentors with younger learners.

The tutoring program supports MBK Milestone 2: Ensure all children read at grade level by third grade.

Recently, volunteer tutors dedicated their evening to helping students present their work during Montessori School 31's annual STEAM Night.
Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) II

The purpose of TOC II is to increase the rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. TOC II programs incorporate strategies for teacher retention and best practice, such as mentors for new teachers and differentiated instructional techniques.
TOC II Spotlight: 2019 Summit

Regent Finn and Commissioner Elia at the TOC II Summit
Regent Finn and Commissioner Elia at the TOC II Summit
Practices that Inform, Transform, and Shift the Narrative

On April 10, NYSED hosted the first TOC II Summit on current issues in teacher preparation at the Cultural Education Center in Albany. Participants included pre-service teachers and educators from colleges, universities, and school districts.

Several NYSED leaders attended the event, including Regent Josephine Finn, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Higher Education Deputy Commissioner John D'Agati, as well as Assistant Commissioners Anael Alston and Kim Wilkins.

NYSED Associate Doris Waiters moderates the TOC II Summit panel
NYSED Associate Doris Waiters moderates the TOC II Summit panel
Commissioner Elia brought an uplifting welcome message in which she reminded the pre-service and new in-service teachers that the State needs them to not only enter the profession but remain in the profession for years to come.

Mr. Alhassan Susso, the 2019 Teacher of Year, kicked off the day by sharing words of inspiration and sage advice on the importance of building relationships with students.

Renowned educator and national leader Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz led a multimodal presentation on "Developing Racial Literacy: A Foundation to Sustaining Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP)."

TOC II Summit participants engage in reflective conversations
TOC II Summit participants engage in reflective conversations
Dr. Sealey Ruiz asserts that individuals who develop racial literacy are able to engage in the necessary personal reflection about their racial beliefs and practices, and they teach their students and colleagues to do the same. She reminded participants that CRP is not just something to do in PD, but it is more about making a commitment to do the work of "critical reflection" daily.

Other presenters and speakers included Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, who spoke about innovative ways to attract and recruit students of color, particularly males of color to the teaching profession, and NYSED Assistant Commissioner Dr. Anael Alston, who conducted a workshop informing participants how the subconscious programming of the brain from birth informs how teachers and students show up to school and work, and what teachers can do about it. Laura Glass, Director of NYSED's Office of Teaching Initiatives, also joined the summit to share her knowledge and answer questions about teacher certification.

As an added bonus, Dr. William Mangino and Executive Dean Lawrence Levy of Hofstra University shared groundbreaking research on the diversity of the teaching profession on Long Island.

The day culminated with participants engaging in reflective conversations on a variety of topics including Family Matters; Finding Balance: The Importance of Self-Care; The First 90 Days; and more.
TOC II Spotlight: Nazareth College

Nazareth College TOC II students attend a workshop facilitated by Stanley Ekiyor
The TOC II program at Nazareth College provides numerous opportunities for current students and alumni to network together and reflect on their practice. One such example is the recent workshop on Effective Check-in/Check-Out systems, facilitated by Stanley Ekiyor, a Behavior Specialist for the Rochester City School District. The workshop is part of a 10-week series on Embedding De-escalation Strategies in classroom management systems. 

During this session, Mr. Ekiyor reviewed case studies with participants and engaged them in discussions on different approaches to responding to student behavior. Mr. Ekiyor emphasized to participants the importance for teachers to build strong relationships with their students and families as a first step in behavior management. 

The Nazareth College TOC II project director, Kai Strange, collaborates with colleagues to provide workshops and trainings that supplement and enhance what pre-service and novice teachers learn in their teacher preparation program. This April, the students will have an opportunity to meet Dr. Donna Ford, educator, author, and activist, as she presents a talk on " Culturally Responsive Gifted Education and Educators: Models, Resources, and Strategies to Recruit and Retain Underrepresented Students of Color."
Family and Community Engagement Program (FCEP)

The purpose of the FCEP is to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color by developing and sustaining effective relationships with families in order to achieve student success.
FCEP Spotlight: Newark Central School District

Newark Middle School students participate in the Rites of Passage Celebration
Newark Middle School in Newark Central School District recently hosted its first Rites of Passage Celebration. Students, families, community members, educators, and Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., were all present to celebrate the young men's progress in this program.

The celebration highlighted the students' Black History Month video project. Each young man chose five individuals from Urban Intellectuals Black History Month Flash Cards. Each student researched his top five individuals, then picked one individual to share in the video. 
Learn More

Find out more about New York State's My Brother's Keeper initiative by visiting our MBK website, which provides details about the grants mentioned in this newsletter. The website also includes sharable videos about MBK, featuring young men of color from New York State.
Join the Conversation

If your school or community would like to share a story to include in a future edition of this newsletter, please email photos and news items to Similarly, if you are hosting an upcoming event, please let us know. We will add it to our calendar and help you get the word out!

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