Oakland schools creating program to support African American girls

Buoyed by the success of its pioneering program to help African American boys succeed in school, the Oakland Unified School District is creating one for girls, officials announced.

The African American Girls and Young Women Achievement Program aims to give female students a place where they can find support and encouragement. It follows the highly regarded African American Male Achievement Program started in 2010.

That program was created to counteract the reality that in the previous decade, the number of African American men killed on the streets of Oakland nearly matched the number of black students who graduated from public high schools in the city and were ready to attend a state university.

Oakland Unified was the first school district in the nation to create a department with the sole focus of helping African American males while sponsoring a charter school specifically for black boys, though the school closed after 18 months.

Since then, districts nationwide have followed suit. The effort has been noticed by the Obama administration and its initiative to boost the academic performance of African Americans. Indications show the district’s program is increasing attendance and reducing suspensions.

Chris Chatmon, deputy chief of equity for the district, wants to offer similar support for girls.

“Ultimately, we want to create an extraordinary learning environment that helps girls of color meet the goals of graduating and being college-ready or community-ready,” he said. “We have work to do.”

Read the full article on SFGate.