JCPS Males of Color program moving forward

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) --- Approved by the Jefferson County Board of Education Tuesday night, the Males of Color Academy program will be moving forward. JCPS Chief Equity Officer Dr. John Marshall says finding the right principal will be one of the first steps.

"We have to get a principal in place, we have to get an area superintendent in place, there is a lot, it is a program in an institution of education, so it’s really focused on academics, so all of the glitz and glamor of it getting approved, now we are to the point where we really got to start running the race," said Marshall.

The program has the goal of improving the outcomes for males of color, which data shows are the district's most under-served group. Statistics presented in the proposal show with higher rates of suspension and lower rates of enrollment in gifted and advanced programs for males of color.

Marshall says a major part of the program is teaching a more inclusive curriculum.

"We understand that the curriculum as its written nationally, locally, and statewide is very monochromatic if you will. You know, for the, for the curriculum to almost posit that African Americans, if you will, or black people, if you will, were just dropped on the world stage at slavery, kind of already starts us at a deficit," said Marshall.

"There's a lot of things inside of our curriculum that we could addended to the curriculum that would actually add a sense of pride, add a sense of being, a sense of esteem to not just students that look like me, to the true fact of what America is and the true contributions of all students," said Marshall.

There are still some unknowns with the program. While the district is still deciding on an exact location, the middle school program will be inside an existing JCPS building. The program will start with 150 6th graders, when they move on to 7th grade, 150 more 6th graders will start until the program is at 450 students.

Marshall says JCPS is still determining how students will enroll, but all rising 6th grade boys in the district would be eligible.

 "Something in middle school is going on where we start seeing some plunges in our data and even in JCPS, so if we can get a stop gap there and grab some of these kids and keep them from sliding through that seems very sound and strategic to us," said Marshall.

In developing this program, the district looked at the Carter G. Woodson School in Lexington as one a successful example. We're told the Males of Color Academy is not the official name, the program will eventually be renamed in accordance with school board policy.

If you would like to read more of the 23 page proposal, visit:https://portal.ksba.org/public/Meeting/Attachments/DisplayAttachment.aspx?AttachmentID=370667

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