At Morningside High School, our Urban Scholars program is called the Black Male Youth Academy (“BMYA”). As many of us are well aware, African-American male youth face high imprisonment, recidivism and death rates. Schools contribute to this negative cycle of social reproduction through consistent deculturalization, reduced financial resources and the lack of a culturally relevant teaching/learning style. In order to reverse this cycle, African-American male youth must be immersed in a schooling experience that is humanizing, values their cultural heritage and creates strong opportunities for academic achievement.
In this program, youth build knowledge of self for personal and social transformation. By the end of the program, youth are confident enough to demonstrate their knowledge of their ancestors, community, history and the Diaspora. They discuss topics focused on their identity, issues of manhood and race, as well as their social condition. Finally, youth strategize specific ways to transform society and themselves in order to create a more just and human world.
Using the Urban Scholars program model as the foundation, the Black Male Youth Academy works with approximately 20-25 African-American youths 4-5 days a week, over the academic school year.
The Academy has been running for 5-years and has shown measurable success. As an organization, we collect and analyze data to look for a measurable impact upon standardized test scores and grades. The program operates using a framework for research and development. This research allows us to constantly improve upon our program model and keeps us on the cutting edge of research in the field of education.
To see our youth in action, watch the following video: