Success for Black Boys

By Heather Gilligan
Michelle Harvey’s son has severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. By middle school, when he was diagnosed, he could not read at grade level, and he struggled in math. Harvey, who is an elementary school teacher, worked closely with school administrators on her son’s needs, and was a frequent volunteer at his middle school. Then he went to high school, and things fell apart.

ADHD is the most common childhood behavior disorder, with symptoms including inattentiveness, over-activity and impulsivity, which are usually treated with stimulants. Harvey’s son struggled with the anxiety caused by his ADHD medication, a drug that usually wore off before the end of the school day. He self-medicated with marijuana, Harvey said, and that contributed to the problems he had at school.

By Morgan Josey Glover
GREENSBORO — Black male students attending several Guilford County schools may notice changes in the way they are taught next year.

Those changes could be reading assignments focused on African American characters, special after-school clubs, lunches with black men in the community or dress-for-success days.

“It’s not just about literacy; it’s about self-esteem, too,” said Rhonda Copeland, principal at Fairview Elementary. “Hopefully, when they feel good about themselves, they will also come ready to learn.”

School officials propose two pilot programs, totaling $312,000, that seek to increase the number of black male students who graduate on time and are prepared for work or college.

By Erik W. Robelen
Reading achievement in a set of large urban districts has stayed mostly flat since 2009, based on new national test results, while in mathematics, half the school systems saw some growth over the past two years, including Atlanta, the district at the center of a recent, high-profile cheating scandal.

In math, four out of 18 big-city districts posted statistically significant 4th grade gains from 2009 to 2011, while six out of 18 made progress at 8th grade, according to data released last week from the Trial Urban District Assessment, which tests representative samples of students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as “the nation’s report card.”