Philadelphians Gather to Discuss Solutions to Issues Facing African-American Men
Philadelphia students, parents, educators and community leaders came together at the Black Male Development Symposium on May 15 to discuss issues affecting African-American men and share ideas about local solutions to address those issues.
The symposium was held at Arcadia University in Philadelphia and included a presentation by Ombudsman operations manager Bill Listanski. Bill reported on the successes of African-American male students enrolled in the seven Ombudsman learning centers in the School District of Philadelphia.
Many Ombudsman students are over-age for their grade level, are in danger of dropping out or have dropped out of school and want to complete their education. Since the Philadelphia Ombudsman centers opened in September 2009, 87 percent of African-American male students improved their academics and behavior.
African-American males represented nearly 40 percent of Ombudsman’s total student population during the 2008-2009 school year. In Ombudsman centers serving more than 120 school districts last year, the attendance rate for African-American males was 83 percent and the graduation rate was 78 percent.
African-American male students in Ombudsman programs made significant academic gains during the year, advancing:
- more than two grade levels in math application;
- one-and-a-half grade levels in language mechanics;
- one-point-four grade levels in spelling; and
- one-point-two grade levels in math computation and reading comprehension.
Ombudsman recognizes the importance of strong family and community relationships in helping students advance academically and behaviorally. We welcome parental involvement and have established positive relationships with Philadelphia community organizations such as PATH, which provides mental health services and Foundations, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to improving educational experiences for America’s children and youth.
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