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New Generation, New Conversation
Written by Michele Courton Brown
A critical question is being pondered by many parents of color: How do I prepare my son or daughter to replicate or exceed the successes of my generation? These parents are the often the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights movement that increased their access and opportunities to attain the American Dream. They have excelled in their chosen professions. They have also enjoyed the privileges associated with their achievements.
Accordingly, parents have high aspirations for their offspring – to attain a quality education, including college and possibly graduate school, to navigate life with a sense of purpose, to be able to support their own families when the time comes. In essence, they want their children to build from their own successes, and be in a position to live quality lives full of meaning and purpose.
There are many obstacles and factors that make realizing these aspirations a challenge. Studies show that even in suburban and private schools, a significant achievement gap exists between white students and students of color.
According to the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), among 8th grade private school students just 21% of black students and 32% of Hispanic students are proficient or advanced in mathematics, as compared to 53% of white students and 61% of Asian students. [Click here to see additional NAEP statistics.]
Further, high performing students of color report the lingering effects of society’s historical biases impacting them in ways that can dampen their drive.
Concurrently, the world around us is changing at a dizzying pace. The old school conversations about doing well to represent the race do not resonate as they once did.
There are new conversations that need to happen. Conversations that reflect the current reality young people are living in, including the impact of social media, steeper academic requirements for career success, and increased global competition. Conversations that focus our young people on effective strategies they can use to direct their academic success and long-term achievements.
The Efficacy Student Success Program (SSP) addresses many of these challenges by providing critical learning and life skills necessary to navigate school and beyond. Offered as a five-day residential experience for students of color entering grades 8-11 at academically rigorous schools, this summer we will be hosting two Student Success Programs at Simmons College on June 18-22 and June 25-29.
The SSP provides a highly interactive curriculum with social activities that increase students’ confidence and competence to excel in school, encourage them to show strong character when navigating life’s challenges, and to stay motivated and resilient when faced with difficulty. These are tools students can use immediately, as they complete school and anticipate college, and in the future as they pursue their own vision for the new American Dream.
Click here to learn more about the Efficacy Student Success Program or download an application for upcoming programs.
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