October 2018
Dear MBK Community,

Dr. Don-Lee Applyrs
My name is Dr. Don-Lee Applyrs and I am elated to join the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as the new Director of the Office of Family and Community Engagement. I look forward to providing leadership to this office which includes providing oversight to the New York State My Brother's Keeper and Liberty Partnership Programs. I am excited and eager to take on this role and support the profound work to improve the educational outcomes of students across the state, especially for boys and young men of color.

I remain committed to ensuring that diverse communities are provided with the support and resources necessary to afford students with the opportunities to fully engage as global citizens in the 21st century. To this end, I will work diligently to ensure that New York State continues to engage families and communities through our initiatives to improve educational outcomes for our students.

I look forward to sharing the successes of this office with you.

Dr. Don-Lee Applyrs
Director of Family and Community Engagement
Regent Young Honored at Yonkers MBK Anniversary Gala

 MBK Fellow De_Andre Brown and Regent Young
MBK Fellow De'Andre Brown and Regent Young
At the Yonkers My Brother's Keeper Anniversary Gala in September, MBK fellow De'Andre Brown presented Regent Young with the inaugural Champion of Equity Award. Regent Young's passion and dedication was the driving force behind New York becoming the first state to enact the My Brother's Keeper initiative into law, and his leadership is helping to change the narrative for our students. Regent Young has been a mentor to our educators, and the difference he's making can be seen in the classroom and in the wider MBK communities across the state. Congratulations, Regent Young!

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 MBK Community Network, communities (cities, counties, and Tribal Nations) who accept the NYSMBK Community Challenge should work with community leaders, educators, business leaders, and youth development experts and contact NYSED. After officially accepting the Challenge, 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. Communities then follow a set of other steps to solidify their spot in the MBK Community Networks.
MBK Community Network Spotlight: Brentwood Union Free School District

Assemblyman Phil Ramos with a Brentwood MBK student
Brentwood recently became the 22nd My Brother's Keeper community. In June,  Brentwood Union Free School District hosted a Youth Empowerment Breakfast to celebrate the completion of the district's first year of MBK. The event featured a "tie the tie" ceremony, where ninth graders in the MBK program got their ties tied by their mentors to symbolize the students being tied to greatness.

The Brentwood MBK program exposes students to experiences that help them develop personal and career skills, preparing them for a successful future.
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: Buffalo

Buffalo's Male Academy
opening ceremony with Superintendent Kriner Cash
This summer, the Buffalo Public Schools MBK program held its second Male Academy summer program for seventh and eighth grade boys.

The two-week summer program included mentorship and field trips to cultural institutions like the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center and the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum. Participants had the opportunity to learn about African American, Latino, and Native American history and culture, which was provided to them through a Culturally Responsive Curriculum.
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: Sarah Lawrence College

Dennis Richmond, Jr.
Dennis Richmond, Jr. is a second year graduate student at Sarah Lawrence College in the Art of Teaching Graduate Program. Here, he reflects on his life growing up and what it means to be a part of TOC II, shedding light on how important the program can be to boys and young men of color: 

" In less than one year, I will have my master's degree in education. From 6th grade all the way through part of 10th grade, I was bullied. I was verbally harassed, slapped, punched, and robbed. Students made fun of me for the way I dressed. Students criticized me for who I was. I never understood why I was a target, but I was. I guess it was because I was smart. It took me a while to tell my parents because let's be real, the way that I heard it in school was: 'snitches get stitches.'

Despite all of that, though, I held on. I made it to and through high school, attended a premier liberal arts HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) called Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and I am now at Sarah Lawrence College, a school that has only been coeducational for about 50 years. The TOC II program is allowing me to have the financial support that I need to elevate, to effect change, and to be amazing and triumphant. Without this program, there is a good chance that I would not be attending Sarah Lawrence College, a really good chance. As I embark on matriculation for this school year, I am constantly reminded that people have opened doors for me, so I have to open doors for others. To all students and educators, hold on, because it gets better."
TOC II Spotlight: SUNY Old Westbury

Culturally Responsive Teaching in the classroom

Kevin Boston-Hill speaking to
TOC II students
The TOC II interns from the School of Education at SUNY College at Old Westbury engaged in a year-in-review seminar. The featured speaker, Kevin Boston-Hill, shared anecdotal stories with the interns, providing insights on how to utilize their mentor relationships effectively and how to practice Culturally Responsive Teaching in the classroom. Boston-Hill has been in the education field for over 22 years, holding various positions in elementary and middle school classrooms and administration. Most recently, he served as a consultant for The New York City Department of Education working with the NYC Men Teach initiative.

The seminar is one of many professional learning opportunities available to TOC II interns during the course of the school year. In addition to inviting experienced educators to speak with the students, seminars encompass a multi-disciplinary, hands-on training program designed to help the TOC II interns grow their professional repertoire.
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: Monticello

Video of "Wrong Way" by young artists from Monticello CSD
Check out this inspiring song and music video composed by young artists in Monticello Central School District's My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Program.

The song, titled "Wrong Way," was inspired by the young men's struggle of overcoming adversity in the streets with chaos and violence surrounding them on a daily basis. At times, it seems like everyone around them is going down a one-way street to nowhere, but they choose to take a different path.

The music video tells the story of the strength, resilience, and tenacity it takes for them to face the negative forces in their environment so they can keep moving forward on their journey to success.

Exemplary School Models and Practices (ESMP)

The purpose of ESMP is to develop and/or expand exemplary high quality college and career readiness school models, programs and practices that demonstrate cultural and linguistic responsiveness, that emphasize the needs of boys and young men of color. This summer the State Education Department awarded 1.15 million to 5 schools for Exemplary School Models and Practices.
ESMP Spotlight: Thurgood Marshall Academy

Dr. Raj Krishnan instructing the students on how to conduct their autopsy to determine cause of death. 
Thurgood Marshall Academy in NYC Community District 5 has partnered with Mentoring in Medicine since 2013. Mentoring in Medicine, Inc. is a nonprofit youth development program focusing on building the next generation of health and science professionals. The program has consistently demonstrated success in delivering academic enrichment programs and leveraging community relationships for the past ten years. Its community partners include: Harlem Hospital, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement, City College, and Manhattan Central Medical Society.

Dr. Raj Krishnan led the students in a lesson on Forensic Science: Health and Science Pathways: Human Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, and Biomedicine. Student teams were given a scenario of facts and then performed autopsies on fetal pigs to determine their causes of death. Students were engaged, professional, respectful of their patients, and very knowledgeable about organs and body systems.
My Brother's Keeper Fellows Program

The purpose of the MBK Fellows Grant is to provide 11th grade high school students, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color, with opportunities to gain authentic leadership experience(s) and develop service projects beneficial to the schools they attend and the communities they live in.
Fellows Spotlight: Fellows and Friends Retreat

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia speaking at the MBK Fellows and Friends Retreat

Commissioner Elia and Regents Finn, Mead, and Young attended the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Fellows and Friends Leadership Retreat in August. The retreat, part of the leadership training component of the MBK Fellows program, was hosted by NYSED in partnership with the Monticello Central School District. Approximately 50 students from more than 10 school districts, along with some MBK liaisons and mentors, were in attendance.

At this event, the fellows participated in activities designed to help them reach their full potential. The retreat featured workshops from national speaker, author, and trainer, Robert Jackson; Regent Young; and NYSED Assistant Commissioner Anael Alston.

Regent Young with MBK Fellows

The retreat kicked off with a welcome from Regent Finn, Commissioner Elia, NYSED Assistant Commissioner Anael Alston, and Monticello Superintendent Tammy Mangus.

Robert Jackson gave the keynote address and offered a Blueprint to Manhood.

Marlon Rice talked about mentoring and the power of words.
Anael Alston discussed the book Madd Truth by Alfonso Wyatt and lead a reflection component on the importance of a positive self-image.

Finally, Garrett Richardson led participants on a hike to a waterfall to round out the retreat.

More information about the retreat is available on our NYS MBK website.
My Brother's Keeper Native American Program (MBKNAP)

The purpose of the MBK Native American Program is to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with emphasis on boys and young men.
Native American Spotlight: Niagara Wheatfield

MBK students learn proper use of power tools at GMCH
In partnership with Tuscarora Nation and SMART Choices, Niagara Wheatfield Central School District provided a program over the summer for young male students of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

As part of the MBKNAP 2018 Summer Program,  General Motors Components Holdings (GMCH) welcomed 12 young men of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to tour the plant in Lockport, NYAt the plant, the students learned to operate power tools and wore protective gear used by construction workers, allowing the students to learn the proper safety procedures for this line of work.

The MBKNAP 2018 Summer Program also provided students with opportunities to design and build programmable robots. During their visit to the Lockport GMCH plant, students had the opportunity to see real robotics being manufactured.
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 TwitterFacebook, 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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