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Summit attendees shared ideas about improving the number of male African-American students who complete high school and pursue higher education.

Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — May 17, 2013

(DALLAS) — Knowing that the dream of attending college and earning a degree is harder for African-American males has prompted a group of organizations in the north Texas area to meet, discuss and try to provide positive solutions to that problem.

The American Association of Community Colleges says, in addition to the 52-percent high school graduation rate, that African-American males are less likely to enroll in and complete college preparatory courses in high school, are over-represented in special education and developmental courses, are often suspended and/or expelled more frequently and for longer periods of time than other students, are less likely to receive the college counseling and guidance in high school to adequately prepare them for college, often must enroll in remedial writing and mathematics (which places them at a distinct academic disadvantage), and are more likely to enroll in community colleges than four-year institutions (where they do not transfer or complete their degrees).

In response, the Dallas County Community College District recently hosted the North Texas African American Male Summit on Saturday, April 27, at the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College. The goal for the half-day event was to bring together a variety of groups whose members were invited to share their ideas and provide suggestions about how to improve the number of male African-American students who complete high school and then pursue higher education and a college degree.

The program was sponsored by the Western Region of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, its Alpha Epsilon and Delta Mu Boules, and the B.A.A.R. Coalition (Building and Achieving Academic Readiness).

More than 300 African-American men, from middle-school students to adults, attended the program; they represented several independent school districts and higher education institutions from as far away as the University of Texas at Austin, filling the auditorium to capacity. Ten students from Cedar Valley College, one of DCCCD’s seven individually accredited colleges, participated in a day filled with activities and speakers.

“All of the young men who joined us engaged in discussions that ranged from the importance of education to mentoring to self-etiquette to accountability and more,” said David Robinson, coordinator of outreach for DCCCD as well as the event’s organizer. “They took home literature and information about upcoming events and camps they can attend, too.”

He added, “This event represents the first time that DCCCD has been part of the B.A.A.R. Coalition, which is designed to help African-American males. The University of Texas at Austin, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Boule also played major roles in the day’s events.” McDonald’s and Jason’s Deli provided food as well.

Sigma Pi Phi is the nation’s oldest African-American Greek letter social fraternity, which includes more than 5,000 people in member Boules across the U.S. who mentor the next generation of African-American males. The B.A.A.R. Coalition includes community service leaders in the area who have worked successfully with youths in economically challenged pockets in north Texas — they represent education, business, nonprofits, civil service and the legal fields.

Partners for the summit included DCCCD, Project Still I Rise, Kappa League of Dallas, the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, DIOP of Friendship-West Baptist Church, the University of Texas at Dallas, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. – Xi Tau Lambda chapter, Mentor Brother-to-Brother, Aiming for the Stars Academic Bowl, the African American Male Research Initiative and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.

Leaders from several summit member institutions welcomed participants to the event: Dr. Leonard Moore and Dr. Gregory Vincent from the UT-Austin division of diversity and community engagement; Curtez Kimble, B.A.A.R. Coalition; Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., chancellor, DCCCD; Texas State Sen. Royce West; and Dr. Leodis Davis, Western Regional Sire Archon, Sigma Pi Phi.

For more information about the summit, contact David Robinson, DCCCD coordinator of outreach, at (214) 378-1728.

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