In our effort to achieve the District goals of accelerating student achievement, eliminating racial disparities, creating positive school and District culture, and fostering innovation we have created We Promise, a program uniquely designed to support African-American male students by providing the resources they need to ensure they are prepared and eligible to receive a scholarship from The Pittsburgh Promise®. To be eligible for a Promise scholarship, students must graduate with a 2.5 GPA and 90% attendance.
During the 2012-2013 school year, 159 African-American male 11th grade students with GPA’s ranging from 1.75 to 2.49 participated in the We Promise program. The first summit was held in January 2012 at the Greenway Professional Development Center with the goal of providing students a space to define and explore their self-identity as African American males.These workshops were facilitated by Life Skills, 360 LLC and focused on building scholarly components such as self-efficacy.
As the program continued to develop, an Advisory Committee was established consisting of 12 African-American males who serve as Lead Mentors for each of our high schools.These gentlemen, along with the members ofthe Equity Department and the Pittsburgh Promise, meet every 3rd Monday of each month where program logistics are discussed, ideas and strategies are shared, and further developments of the program are created.
Among the 159 We Promise students, during their 10th grade year, there were no students eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship.However, after the completion of 11thgrade year, there are 13 students Promise Ready. In addition, there were 74 students who increased their overall GPA and 57 increased their attendance.
For the 2013-14 school year, a Project Manager, Jason Rivers, has joined the team to coordinate and lead the work more closely with school leadership and lead mentors. In addition, building upon the momentum of last year's program, we have begun hosting Summit workshops for our newest class of 11th graders.
By empowering this body of students, we are encouraging them to take ownership of their future as they transition from high school to college or the workforce.