| AAMA Newsletter Volume # 1
About the Office of African American Male Achievement
The Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) works to ensure that the educational environment across the system supports the brilliance and excellence of Black boys and teens. For more information, check out the Office of AAMA webpage.
AAMA’s newsletter will share the latest messages, events, and updates from our office, articles written by students, and all other vital information to help ensure that SPS is supporting each of our Kings.
Nothing About Us Without Us
Student-Written Story: Student Voice in District Decisions
In this student-written piece, AAMA SLC member Ajala shares his experience providing student perspective in key district decisions." AAMA made sure to champion our voice and put our voices and experiences at the forefront of the conversation. This opportunity made me feel empowered and appreciated for my presence," Ajala said. Read Ajala's full story.
Student-Written Story: HBCU Virtual Tour
In this student-written piece, AAMA SLC member August reflects on a Virtual Historical Black College Tour with the SLC. "I want to experience learning like it is in my Kingmakers of Seattle classes, I want to see educators that look like me, I want a college professor that can relate to the experiences I’ve faced; And if I could have it all I want him them to bust a rap like my Kingmakers facilitator Mr. Walton does to get our day started off right!" August said. Read August's full story.
Student-Written Story: COVID-19 Planning Committees
In this student-written piece, AAMA SLC member Trevon shares his experience providing student perspective on district planning committees over the summer. "We want to be invited to important meetings no matter how long they are, but we also want you take our feedback and actually implement it, because at the end of the day nothing can be about us without us!" Trevon said. Read Trevon's full story.
The Office of AAMA is a driver of systemic change, not a program. By listening to the experiences and solutions of students and inviting engagement from families and the greater community, AAMA works to dismantle the systemic racism embedded in the public education system. AAMA works with Black boys and teens to reconstruct school systems and structures to meet their unique needs, advance public education as a tool for transformation and liberation, and create a strong learning environment that attends to the social, emotional, and educational needs of students. We are actively becoming an anti-racist educational system. By ensuring Black male students thrive, conditions will improve for all students in Seattle Public Schools. Some of our major work so far includes:

  • We launched the AAMA Student Leadership Council in February 2020. The AAMA managers conduct bi-weekly remote meetings and individual check-ins to ensure Black boys and teens continue to have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions that affect their lives and education.
  • Collaboratively secured $1.8 million dollars from local philanthropies in service of AAMA's work to create policies, structures, and systems designed for Black male students' success. Read more about Alliance for Education.
  • Centered Black student voices in the decision-making process for initiatives such as COVID-19 planning, grading practices, anti-racism policies, student engagement, and fall 2020 planning.
  • Young people have told us that representation matters. AAMA is supporting the Human Resources team in hiring and recruiting more educators of color. Read more about Work Force Diversity.
  • Extended the successful Kingmakers of Seattle program during remote learning. Read more below.

Learn more about the major work of AAMA on our webpage.
Educate. Engage. Empower.
Kingmakers of Seattle (KOS)
Kingmakers of Seattle is an elective program for Black male middle school and high school students, referred to as Kings, taught by Black male facilitators. Kingmakers supports the cultural, historical, social, and emotional needs of young Black boys and teens as it relates to their identity. The program is offered at four SPS schools: Aki Kurose, Asa Mercer, and Denny International middle schools and Interagency Academy.

To extend an opportunity to Black male students across the district, AAMA launched Kingmakers of Seattle Extended (KOSE). The virtual extension is a five week, 10 session program that will connect more Black male students across the district to share experiences, participate in affirming curriculum that addresses stereotypes and focuses on their cultural identity, and elevate their voice.

The first cohort started in November. Stay tuned for more opportunities.
Each newsletter, Kingmakers facilitators will highlight a King in the program.
Nasir, KOSE Middle School Cohort
In the first cohort of the Kingmakers of Seattle Extended (KOSE) program, it was challenging to choose just one King to spotlight as they have all been brilliant. However, King Nasir’s commitment to excellence is undoubtedly shining brightly. In our KOSE sessions, the Kings have been engaged in discussions around brotherhood, universal narratives surrounding the black community, and how they impact Black excellence. Nasir’s contributions to the discussions are always profound and well-articulated. He always speaks from a “we” perspective, being inclusive of how the entire community of African American males are affected. In one lesson identifying some of the negative imagery portrayed in certain media outlets around who Black men are, Nasir added, “any support of Black men hating each other is cowardly.” He went on to add, “we (Black men) should always look for ways to build one another up.” His presence is infectious, encouraging his brothers to be more open to share their perspectives.

Written by KOSE Middle School Facilitator Will King.
Chrisler, Aki Kurose Middle School
"Chrisler has made me feel proud and excited to be an educator. This young King has been a leader in our class. His participation and enthusiasm to learn has made my remote teaching experience joyous. I feel blessed to have him in my class," Facilitator Marcus Bradford said of Chrisler. Read the full message on our website.
Ansaar, Mercer Middle School
"This king has made it easy for me to show up to teach and lead during this difficult time. He brings light and laughter to the space, but also brings a level of maturity and awareness that isn’t regularly seen in someone so young. Ansaar, whether it’s through his humor, or his knowledge sharing, always brings a fresh new perspective to class. Ansaar has constantly challenged me to think harder, and brings out the best of everyone he works with in class," Facilitator Donte Neil said of Ansaar. Read the full message on our website.
Kenyon, Interagency
"This young man has been an absolute delight since the beginning of class. He not only leaves his camera on during class times, but he asked insightful and very intelligent questions. He has made mention of how pleased he is with finally being able to learn some of his cultural heritage in our kingmaker's class," Facilitator Emery Walters said of Kenyon. Read the full message on our website.
Ezra, Denny Middle School
"This king has embodied commitment to growth and development as a king. He’s made me feel as though the work has not fallen on deaf ears but rather worthy of application. His passion to being the best version of himself shows in his participation. Every class he’s early, engaged, questioning & commenting, and exhibiting leadership. King Ezra is worthy of the spotlight!" Facilitator Lavell Walton said of Ezra. Read the full message on our website.
Black Studies US History Course Registration Now Open
SPS has developed a Black Studies US History course that will be offered second semester of the 2020-21 school year. The course will focus on the Black/African American experience from a national and global perspective, which includes African History, Critical Race Theory, Black/African American leadership, and more. This course will count for the 11th grade US History 11B requirement and will be a district-wide offering that will be available before school (0-period) or after-school (8th period). Enrollment will be prioritized for interested students who need to meet that credit. Online registration is open now.
Reading Recommendations from AAMA
Dr. Gholdy Muhammad (2020) teaches us that reading influences one’s criticality (awareness of power, privilege, equity, and social justice). In other words, when you read for self, nobody can tell you how it made you feel, what you now know, or what you will do with the information. Throughout the month of January, we are encouraging Kings in SPS to read one or both of the following audio books: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois; and or The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. That’s right, au-di-o books, they will read to you!

Additionally, we are providing you link(s) to both audio versions. This exercise of daily reading is important. AAMA Manager Adam Haizlip shared, "Recently, I came across some dope quotes about reading and thinking: “A person that does not read has no advantage over the person that cannot read…” Even deeper, African American scholar and activist Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote, "When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it."

Reflecting on these quotes, Adam advised, "Break free and read for at least 30 minutes a day!"
Listen. Act. Repeat.
Our mantra for community engagement is "Listen. Act. Repeat." We're actively involving Black students, families, partners, community elders, and the greater Seattle community in building a system that celebrates the brilliance of Black boys and teens throughout SPS.
  • Visit the AAMA webpage to learn more about our office.
  • View the district calendar for upcoming events and school year dates.
  • Learn more about district resources, including tech supports, meal distribution, childcare, and more on the SPS website.
  • Follow Seattle Public Schools on social media to stay updated with upcoming events.
Meet the AAMA Team
Seattle Public Schools is the first district in Washington state, and one of the few across the nation, to create an office that intentionally cultivates the cultural and academic strengths of African American male students while simultaneously addressing their needs. In alignment with Seattle Excellence, the district's strategic plan and collective commitment to unapologetically support and serve students and families furthest from educational justice, AAMA is committed to the long journey required for the positive transformation of SPS, and has been working to achieve that vision every day since its founding in 2019.
Office of African American Male Achievement 206-252-0000
2445 3rd Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134