The Department of Education recently released a report card which graded and assessed public schools in N.Y.C. There still remains an unacceptable and disproportionate number of failing schools in the Black and Latino community. On the bright side, however, the 2nd ranked high school in all of Brooklyn is our own Bedford Academy. This school which started only 4years ago received a grade of A and 103.6%. I guess the 3.6% was for extra credit because they did so well. Principal George Leonard and his staff have done a stellar job with our children. I have had a first hand experience with Bedford Academy as my son Alade attended Bedford his first year of high school. He along with most of the students passed three regents in the school’s first year of existence. This took all of the myth and uncertainty out of the narrative that Black Children can’t pass standardized tests. George Leonard has been doing this for many years. He must be given accolades for a job well done. More so our community must demand that he be elevated to at least a superintendent position so that he could impact upon black and Latino youth that the school system isn’t equipped to properly train to pass standardized test. We also acknowledge Bedford’s parent coordinator, staff, parents, and students. Bedford Academy is an example of our communities BEST PRACTICES.
Another learning institution that and that I am equally impressed with is Bushwick Outreach H.S. This school in the Alternative H.S. Division for older students that have failed in traditional high school settings. They too have a dedicated staff led by Principal Pira Randall and supported by dynamic school leaders Tabari Bomani and Brian Favors. I have participated in several workshops and meetings at Bushwick Outreach regarding a variety of social issues including police abuse and gang violence. I am immensely impressed with the consciousness of the student body.
They have a strong sense of history and understanding of the implications of racism. This is because the staff is brutally honest with the students and are always engaging them as critical thinkers. There is a strong emphasis on social activism and African centered learning. The result is that students have enhanced self esteem and pride in who they are. Most of them are doing well in school and have turned their lives around. Bushwick Outreach High School is one of the best kept secrets in the New York City school system.
In my ideal world the leadership of Bedford Academy will meet with the leadership of Bushwick Outreach and develop the model Academic/Cultural Curriculum and pedagogy so that all of our children can benefit from their BEST PRACTICES.
Let’s get ready for Kwanza and embrace its core values as part of our strategy for empowerment for the New Year. Will elaborated on this in my next column.