New York State My Brother_s Keeper_ Changing the Narrative
Summer 2020
Dear Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

Dr. Anael Alston
Dr. Anael Alston
Albert Einstein said, "in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity." This unprecedented public health crisis has allowed us to not only reflect on current practices but to also participate in groundbreaking opportunities for our students. As a result of the challenges that arose out of this pandemic, we have discovered new ways to engage, connect with, and support students during this time of remote learning and social distancing we would never have thought possible.

Our office has continued its commitment to high level outreach and engagement with the communities we serve. While we expected to have an MBK Symposium and induct a new class of Fellows in April, the current crisis made that impossible. We wanted to still celebrate the accomplishments of these Fellows publicly and were fortunate to be able to induct the 2020 MBK Fellows at a culminating ceremony during our MBK Fellows Mastermind "Advice to Action" series.

We were also able to connect with our TOC II students and staff with a TOC II virtual summit entitled " MBK Teacher Opportunity Corps II - All Eyes on Equity During COVID-19." This summit provided us with the opportunity to discuss equity for all students during the current pandemic. We were pleased to have nationally renowned professor Dr. Pedro Noguera give sage advice and words of wisdom to our TOC II students and staff.

Lastly, I have previously discussed that MBK is about creating a success cycle for our students across New York State. I have been so moved over the past few months by the level of determination and commitment so many of you have displayed in your efforts to encourage, advocate for, and support our students ensuring that participants continue on that path to success even during this pandemic. I am pleased to share that I have heard from many students the positive impact these efforts have had on them now and will have in the future.

Please stay well.


Dr. Anael Alston
Assistant Commissioner
Office of Access, Equity and Community Engagement Services
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.
SUNYMBK Fellow Spotlight: Mark Bellamy, Jr., Monticello High School

Mark Bellamy_ Jr.
Mark Bellamy, Jr.
New York State MBK Fellow Mark Bellamy, Jr. of Monticello High School was accepted into the prestigious Summer Academy of Actuarial and Mathematical Sciences (SAAMS) Program at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. 

SAAMS is a rigorous academic enrichment program in math, actuarial science, and computer science. Applicants for the program are selected through a competitive application and interview process and those selected to attend receive a stipend. The purpose of the program is to foster an interest in math, actuarial science, and computer science with the hope of increasing the number of students who enter those STEM fields.

All applicants to this program must write an essay, provide a transcript, and obtain two letters of recommendation. Mark will participate in the SAAMS summer program before beginning the program virtually this fall.
SUNYNYC MBK Fellows - From Challenge to Opportunity

New York State My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Fellows are inducted each year at the New York State MBK Symposium. Each Fellow is given a mentor and is provided with training and practice in leadership and professional speaking. This year, MBK Fellows in New York City confronted a challenge but chose to make it an opportunity. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NYC MBK Fellows recently provided recommendations to government officials in New York City.
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.
tociiTOC II Spotlight Virtual Summit

On June 10, 2020, NYSMBK held a virtual summit entitled "MBK Teacher Opportunity Corps II - All Eyes on Equity During COVID-19." The event was held in partnership with Queens College and Partnership for Afterschool Education (PASE). Hosted by Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner, the summit began with opening remarks from Alison Overseth, Executive Director of PASE, and Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY Chancellor. New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Regent Lester Young also gave words of encouragement to the TOC II students. Their remarks were followed by a TOC II graduate turned author and teacher, Dennis Richmond, Jr., who spoke to the students about his experience with equity in the classroom.

Distinguished professor and author Dr. Pedro Noguera gave an engaging keynote presentation. Dr. Noguera's keynote entitled "Equity in the Classroom: Theory Meets Practice" challenged pre-service and in-service teachers to create the conditions to help students thrive. During the address, Dr. Noguera focused on ways to create equitable learning environments that work to eliminate social, emotional, and economic barriers. He also addressed the importance of building relationships with parents and students, encouraging teachers to build those relationshipss, because these relationships will fortify them.

During his keynote, Dr. Noguera told a story about when he started teaching, stating "I saw the power and potential of teaching. It is a beautiful thing to be a teacher. When you can see students come to life." He shared a story about a student who gave him a hard time, and once he learned about the trauma in this student's life, he then changed the way he looked at the student, and as a result, he made a greater effort to engage the student. He couldn't change what was happening outside the school environment, but he changed what happened in the classroom.

Following the keynote, TOC II students were able to ask Dr. Noguera questions and discuss their experiences during the pandemic. NYSED program manager, Doris Waiters, shared inspiring words of support and encouragement closing out the event.

TOC II Summit Part 1

TOC II Summit Part 1
TOC II Summit Part 2

TOC II Summit Part 2

SUNYTOC II Spotlight: Metropolitan College of New York Graduate Reflects on Experience

Thomas B. Lee Teaching
Thomas B. Lee Teaching
Thomas B. Lee, a 2018 graduate of the Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY), gives a personal account of his experience as a TOC II student. Mr. Lee now works as a full-time certified classroom teacher at PS 1X in the South Bronx.

Graduating the Master of Science in Education (MSED) program provided at MCNY has undoubtedly been the fundamental difference in my teaching career, and career path as a whole. Their unique residency model and focus on quality allowed me to engage the content which I was learning in the classroom in a much more intimate and impactful way. I not only utilized the knowledge and newly acquired skills in the classroom in real time, but it exposed me to the very demographic I was looking to make an impact for.

The Teacher Opportunity Corps II program was extremely advantageous in multiple ways. The monetary benefits such as test vouchers, textbook reimbursements, monthly MetroCards, and tuition assistance were of enormous help as a student, but the support provided was truly unparalleled. For example, there were several workshops administered by the professors throughout the year that were geared specifically to assist my cohort and I for upcoming examinations and being in the best position to succeed. In addition, as a male minority of Asian and Hispanic heritage born and raised in the metropolitan area of New York, I personally understand the necessity of being culturally relevant and responsive. The preparations provided to us at MCNY to become culturally responsive pedagogues to the "at-risk" student demographic of NYC allowed me to make a positive impact in the classroom beginning day 1.

Each professor brought his/her own personal and unique experience as prior educators in the NYC public schools which gave a first-hand idea on what to expect and how to prepare. In addition to this, MCNY offered The Faculty Advisement Program, which provided a dedicated mentor that would meet with me on a weekly basis or as needed. [My mentor] was my direct connection post-graduation with PS1X The Courtlandt School in the South Bronx where I am currently employed as a third-grade general education teacher.

I am extremely grateful for the entire well-rounded academic and professional experience and support I was given at MCNY.
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.
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