New Summer Program Supports Black Students

The program – called “We Win When Black Students Graduate” – is led entirely by Black staff. It takes an interdisciplinary, project-based approach, combining core subjects with afrocentric classes like storytelling and African drumming. Students and teachers say they came away inspired. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports:

A pilot summer program for Black students in Minneapolis Public Schools concludes its four week run this Friday. The program called “We Win When Black Students Graduate” is led entirely by Black staff. It takes an interdisciplinary, project-based approach, combining core subjects with afrocentric classes like storytelling, African drumming, and herbalism.

“I would love to see more black teachers at our schools,” said Rising senior Kanye Bell.  He says he appreciated the teaching style and personal connections.

“Most of my teachers are white. It’s history they’re teaching us but it’s not the history we want to learn about. We want to learn about black history,” he said. “Not for like one month like February; I’m talking about actually like learning throughout the whole school year.”

photo by Feven Gerezgiher

Bell says he felt welcome and supported in the program; he says he now wants to make the honor roll this year. 

“All the teachers are pushing me to get the credits and graduate on time. It just made me open my eyes,” he said. “LIke, the work’s not hard, especially when you’ve got a team actually motivated to help you. And they’re here for you.”

The summer school was a collaborative effort between the school district’s Office of Black Student Achievement, the WE WIN Institute, and the Racial Justice Network.

Malcolm Lee teaches math at North Community High during the school year. He says the four weeks have been both inspirational and emotional. 

“I know for me that some of our students have actually opened up about their personal experience, what’s going on outside of school, which actually builds up the relationship,” said Lee. “There’s something very powerful and poignant and just paramount about that with the students’ experience here.”

The Office of Black Student Achievement says community partnerships are key to Black students’ success. 

Photo by Feven Gerezgiher

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