New York State My Brother_s Keeper_ Changing the Narrative
November 2019
Dear Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

Dr. Anael Alston_ Assistant Commissioner
Dr. Anael Alston
Assistant Commissioner
First, I am happy to announce that the fourth NYS MBK Symposium will be held on April 23, 2020 in Albany, NY. More information will be available soon, so stay tuned!
All students deserve an education that supports them and propels them to success. That's why our New York State My Brother's Keeper (NYSMBK) initiative established our "Success for All" vision at our last symposium and began targeted "how-to" sessions across the state on raising student achievement. What is your community or school plan to increase student success? 
We are pleased to announce that NYSED is now accepting applications for the MBK Fellows Program and  the MBK Native American Program , as well as providing professional development. 
Another exciting piece of news from our MBK initiative is that the New York State My Brother's Keeper Community Network now includes 25 member communities! The program recently added connections with Peekskill and Monticello, the 24th and 25th communities to join the growing initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. Learn more and find out if your community is part of the MBK Community Network.

Presenters and attendees at the NYC_What Success Looks Like_ conference
Presenters and attendees at the NYC
"What Success Looks Like" conference
NYSED convened several "What Success Looks Like" conferences across New York State to help us improve our graduation rates.  These training events focused on the key practices that drive student success in secondary schools. The educators who attended the conference learned about the four strategies -- what they are, why they work, and how to implement them. I am thankful for all of our incredible presenters who shared their knowledge and expertise with us.
In this edition of "Changing the Narrative," we spotlight examples of the MBK initiative's impact across the state, including former MBK Fellow and Yonkers graduate De'Andre Brown's experience at the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit; the enriching Peekskill CSD MBK program; and a school supply drive organized by TOC II students at SUNY Old Westbury.

To learn more about how we are changing the narrative and improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color, visit the NYSMBK website, subscribe to this newsletter, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Dr. Anael Alston 
Assistant Commissioner 
Office of Access, Equity and Community Engagement Services
MBK Fellows Grant and MBK Native American Grant

young man using laptop computer
The State Education Department is accepting applications for two My Brother's Keeper (MBK) grants: the MBK Fellows Program and the MBK Native American Program.

The MBK Fellows grant provides leadership opportunities to high school juniors, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color. Approved MBK Community Networks are eligible to apply. 

The MBK Native American Program grant is intended to incentivize and support school districts to accept the My Brother's Keeper initiative and implement a coherent cradle-to-college/career strategy aimed at improving the life outcomes for disadvantaged Native Americans, with an emphasis on boys and young men. For this program, NYSED will fund grants to eligible school districts partnered with New York State Tribal Nations. 

Applications for these grants  are currently available online. The application deadline for both programs is December 6, 2019
My Brother's Keeper Community Network

The New York State My Brother's Keeper Community Network includes more than 25 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 the Commissioner indicating their support of and commitment to meeting the six MBK National Milestones and the six 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.
YonkersCommunity Spotlight: De'Andre Brown Speaks at 2019 Obama Foundation Summit 

On October 29, De'Andre Brown shared his experiences at the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit. Brown is a 2019 graduate of Yonkers Middle High School, where he participated in the Yonkers MBK Community.

"What do you see when you see me?" he asked. "I'm a graduate with distinction, a scholarship student at one of the most prestigious private universities in the country. Do you see someone who's beating the odds or someone who succeeded on his own terms?" He spoke about growing up in Yonkers: "Do you see someone who's persevered in spite of his environment or found purpose because of it? When I was in high school, I struggled with emotional challenges, but the My Brother's Keeper initiative supported me and believed in me.

De_Andre Brown speaks at Obama Foundation Summit
De'Andre Brown speaks at
Obama Foundation Summit
"As a young black man, I struggle every day with these matters of perspective. With being seen, not for who I am, but what I represent. To some people, I represent their fears. To others, I represent their hopes. But when you see me, I hope you see all of me. I hope you see a sharp mind and an open heart. I hope you see an artist, an athlete, a talented student, and a
hard worker . I need you to see a role model, a mentor, a person that's focused on the next generation's success as my own. I hope you see that I'm proud of my city. I hope you see that I'm My Brother's Keeper."

De_Andre Brown participates in a panel with former President Barack Obama at the Obama Foundation Summit
De'Andre Brown participates in a panel with
former President Barack Obama
at the Obama Foundation Summit

Brown also participated on the panel discussion, "What Can I Do Where I Am?" with Barack Obama and Yara Shahidi, as well as fellow Obama Foundation program participants Samira Koujok, Mimi Gonzalez, and Francisca Mbula Awah. The conversation focused on creating social change by starting with yourself and your community. 

Brown is now a freshman at New York University and continues to support the Yonkers MBK Community. 
PeekskillCommunity Spotlight: Peekskill City School District

Peekskill High School_s2019 MBK Graduates
Peekskill High School's
2019 MBK Graduates
At Peekskill City School District (CSD), over 50 middle and high school students participated in their MBK Challenge Program during the 2018-19 year. An opening ceremony was held in October, where students were welcomed to the program and equipped with professional attire to wear at future events. Scholars jumped right into action by attending the MBK Youth Leadership Summit the following week at the White Plains County Center. Throughout the year, MBK members visited the Culinary Institute of America, Broadway, the Consumer Reports headquarters, and historically black colleges such as North Carolina Central University and Morehouse College. Scholars were also exposed to educational opportunities through workshops and guest speakers.

Peekskill CSD hosted its first annual MBK Leadership Forum at Manhattanville College this year. During the event, City of Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey accepted the MBK Challenge alongside Peekskill CSD. Since Peekskill joined the MBK Challenge Program, school district staff and city officials have met continuously to create a Local Action Plan to implement and complete the six milestones of the MBK Challenge. This past June, 18 MBK scholars graduated from Peekskill High School.
Teacher Opportunity Corps II (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.

SUNYTOC II Spotlight: SUNY Old Westbury Interns

TOC II interns Elisabeth Lainez and Ondina Morales Garay with Anthony Messina and teachers
TOC II interns Elisabeth Lainez and Ondina Morales Garay with Anthony Messina and teachers
TOC II interns at SUNY Old Westbury complete a leadership project as part of the program. Elisabeth Lainez and Ondina Morales Garay decided to run a school supply drive for Wyandanch School District. 

Lainez, a former Wyandanch student, came up with the idea after reading a news article about the district's budget not passing and teachers being left with limited classroom supplies. The two interns reached out to the School of Education at their university for donations, which they collected and brought to one of Lainez's former teachers and art teacher Anthony Messina at La Francis Hardiman Elementary School.

The teachers were very grateful for the unexpected donations.

"If these young ladies are a sample of the next generation of teachers," Messina wrote in a thank you letter, "the future children of the world are in store for some amazing educators." 
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  [email protected] 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!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and tag us in your posts so we can follow you and share your success stories. Be sure to use the #NYSMBK hashtag!
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