Apply today for Fall 2024!

Apply today for Fall 2024!

  • Careers
    Enroll

Diverse Voices, Unified Purpose: Reflections from BMEC 2023 on Black Male Teacher Representation

Charter School Growth Fund


March 2, 2024

In November 2023, over one thousand Black male educators convened in Philadelphia for the sixth annual national Black Men Educators Convening (BMEC) organized by the Center for Black Educator Development (CBED). Among the attendees was a team of Black male educators from Ascend Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn, New York, who used the time to connect with each other and others from across the country who are working to build the Black male teacher pipeline.

“Our Black male educators and leaders spend time together, but not often in situations like this,” said Recy Dunn, CEO of Ascend Learning. “To be able to connect at BMEC was very important. Being a Black male working in education can be lonely, so to be able to come together in this way was huge.”

Each year, BMEC features lively panels and targeted workshops to inform, inspire and energize CBED’s commitment to serve as Black educator activists and improve outcomes for students. Attendees have reported increases in culturally-responsive practices uplifting students’ racial identities, understanding of historical contributions of Black people in education, and emotional well-being and self-care support. “We are systematically rebuilding the national Black teacher pipeline that was systematically dismantled,” states CBED.

The cause that BMEC is working towards is rooted in the latest research and data. According to CBED, Black students who have just one Black teacher in grades K-3 are 13% more likely to graduate from high school, and 19% more likely to go to college. If they have two Black teachers, they are 32% more likely to go to college. The ability of Black and male students to see representation in and connect with their teachers has a powerful impact on their educational journeys and chances at success. The Charter School Growth Fund continues to support portfolio member attendance at BMEC to help drive this work due to its significance. CSGF’s portfolio includes over 160 charter organizations, with 60% of network CEOs identifying as people of color, and more specifically, nearly 40% identify as Black.

Leyde St. Leger, Senior Principal of Central Brooklyn Ascend Lower and Middle School, was one of the attendees at the convening and spoke about the impact that Black male educators have on his school. “The way I show up every day, as a boy from Brooklyn, highlights to kids that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you look, to be successful,” said St. Leger. “And we’re a very high performing school, academically. There’s a power in the fact that when there is a complement of males and females in our building pouring affirmations in our kids. That complement is driving the impressive results that we are seeing.”

Ascend does not fit the normal trend. While Dunn and St. Leger both stated that the numbers of Black male educators at Ascend are still far too low and need to improve, they both spoke with pride about the diversity amongst the staff at Ascend schools. Nearly 60% of Ascend staff identify as Black, and over a third of its schools have male Principals. “One of the beauties of Ascend is that we’re thoughtful,” said St. Leger. “We don’t fit the national norm in what individuals are experiencing. We’re thoughtful about the cultural experiences of our staff and in our hiring practices.”

“The national numbers are terrible,” said Dunn. “But I’m hopeful that we can continue to improve upon those numbers and change them. I hope we can increase the pipeline of folks in, and then keep people in the work. I’m always worried Black men will leave the work. I think Sharif El-Mekki and CBED have built something amazing. I think it should be trumpeted and we should shine a light on it, and think about how we can replicate it across the country.”

“If I’m a person looking from the outside in, we look way more diverse than other organizations,” said St. Leger. “If I am a male interested in teaching or in leadership, seeing our diversity articulates that there’s a pathway for me. And I can only imagine how many more of our male students are more inclined to be educators because of the number of males that they see and experience right now.”

To learn more about the Black Men Educators Convening (BMEC), visit their website here.

Share

Other Articles

Diverse Voices, Unified Purpose: Reflections from BMEC 2023 on Black Male Teacher Representation
C

by Charter School Growth Fund

In November 2023, over one thousand Black male educators convened in Philadelphia for the sixth annual national Black Men Educators Convening (BMEC) organized by the Center for Black Educator Development...

Announcing the Search of Our Chief Advancement Officer

by Recy Dunn

As the new year begins and a new chapter unfolds, we are thrilled to share a significant milestone in our journey towards a brighter, more equitable future in education. In...

Contact
Schools
  • Our Results
  • Lower Schools
  • Middle Schools
  • High School
  • Donate Now
About Us

© Ascend Public Charter Schools 2024