On June 13-22, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP) presented “Black Excellence Undenied,” which was a six-day symposium with workshops conducted for administrators, teachers, parents and community members. More than 400 people attended.
The symposium was held at Dymally High School in South L.A. There was a two-day planning institute for the administrative teams, a two-day planning institute for classroom teachers, and a two-day conference for teachers, parents, community members and leaders.
The focus was on culturally relevant education, as well as resources and strategies to engage Black students. Teachers were able to brainstorm, share best practices and plan empowering interdisciplinary units geared around the goal of increasing the academic performance of Black students.
There was also an emphasis on the socio-emotional development, and mental health and wellness of Black students. Powerful and dynamic presentations were given about topics such as: Parenting With A Purpose, Compassionate Leadership, Leveraging Student Voices, Effectively Teaching Black Adolescent Students, Relationship Building, Culturally Relevant Instruction, Black Female Empowerment, and Trauma Informed Approaches to Student Engagement.
The Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP) was approved by the LAUSD Board of Education in February of the 2020-21 school year. Funding allocations have been earmarked to address the longstanding disparities in educational outcomes between Black students and their non-Black peers. The current social landscape and emphasis on social justice and equal opportunity in America inspired this initiative.
The BSAP program provides additional resources to the schools within LAUSD that have the highest number of Black students. These schools are provided with school climate advocates, restorative justice teachers, psychiatric social workers, and counselors who work as a team to ensure that the Black students are engaged, supported and mentored throughout their educational careers in LAUSD.
The event was developed by the BSAP administrative coordinators of instruction (ACI’s), under the direction of Dr. G. “Fletch” Fletcher, who initially brought the idea to BSAP Leadership along with co-coordinator Michelle Bryant.
“The Summer Planning Sessions were a needed event. Teachers are willing to do the work, but not having time to create substantial lessons around culturally relevant curriculum is the barrier that teachers face. These sessions provided for networking, sharing of best practices, a review of culturally relevant pursuits and uninterrupted planning time,” said Bryant.
“The BSAP Institutes and Conferences helped teachers and administrators engage in discussion and begin planning for the 2022-2023 school year. The attendees engaged in deep reflection, identified team and school strengths as well as areas of improvement,” said Fletcher.
“Both the conference and institute supported more than 400 participants where they were able to deepen the knowledge of teachers and administrators. Moving forward we plan to continue to implement more planning institutes, always utilizing the best practices and latest research geared towards improving academic achievement for Black students,” he added.