December 2021
Dr. Anael Alston
Dear MBK Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

I hope that you are well and making the most of this school year. The team at the New York State Education Department (NYSED) remains in awe of the commitment of parents, teachers, leaders, and caregivers who continue to work for a better tomorrow while maximizing the opportunities that are in front of us today on behalf of the students in New York State. We see you, we hear you, and we appreciate you.

NYSED recently announced that the New York State My Brother’s Keeper (NYSMBK) Community Network has grown again, and now includes 31 member communities. NYSMBK added connections with Arlington, Elmont, Roosevelt, Sewanhaka, and Uniondale. These communities have made public commitments, created partnerships, and submitted an approved action plan to improve outcomes and help more boys and young men of color reach their full potential. On behalf of all of the students in your communities, thank you for choosing action over inaction and courage over comfort.

I joined Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., Regent Roger Tilles, and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for a press conference to announce the four newest communities in Nassau County. I invite you to watch the full press conference that includes remarks from County Executive Curran, Chancellor Young, Regent Tilles, and the scholars from these new NYSMBK communities. Watch this video from News 12 Long Island for more details.
MBK student speaking at press conference
Jordan A. Burkett
Dutch Broadway School
Elmont UFSD
Chancellor Young and
County Executive Curran
pose with state, community, and student leaders and elected officials.
Brandon Long
Uniondale High School
Uniondale UFSD
Your Partner in Education,

Dr. Anael Alston
Assistant Commissioner
MBK Summary Report and Presentation
NYSYMBK Summary Report
The MBK Summary Report, presented to the New York State Board of Regents on October 18, 2021 by Dr. Alston, provided a review of the New York State My Brother's Keeper (NYSMBK) initiative from February 2016 through June 2021. The October 2021 presentation to the Board of Regents complements the report.
My Brother's Keeper Fellows Program
The purpose of the MBK Fellows Grant is to provide rising 12th grade high school students, with an emphasis on boys and young men of color, with opportunities to gain authentic leadership experience(s) and develop service projects beneficial to the schools they attend and the communities they live in.
Syracuse 2020 MBK Fellows Service Projects
The Syracuse City School District 2020 MBK Fellows decided on two service projects that would benefit the community and address important topics - Men's Mental Health and Fatherhood. The presentations featured keynote speakers, national motivational speakers, and experts who provided inspiration and wisdom on both topics.

Men's Mental Health
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people experienced mental health trauma. In this video, Syracuse City School District 2020 MBK Fellows Abdullahi Shirwa and Omar Hussein sought to break the stigma that young men are weak for seeking help and caring for their mental health.

Abdullahi Shirwa
Nottingham High School
Omar Hussein
Nottingham High School
In this video, Syracuse City School District 2020 MBK Fellows Jonnouy Powers and Todrick Wilson shared their feelings about experiencing life without their fathers present. They set out to address and discuss the importance of young men being responsible fathers. Darrell Andrews was the keynote speaker and was joined by guest speakers from around the country.

Jonnouy Powers
Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central
Todrick Wilson
Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central
Mastermind Calls for MBK Fellows
We are excited that we have begun our programming with the 2021 MBK Fellows! This year, we are implementing three Mastermind book studies with the MBK Fellows, district leaders, and their mentors. We are reading the following books once again: Madd Truth by Reverend Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, and Brooklyn Bred by Attika Torrence. Stay tuned for special guest appearances!

All book studies will be held on Thursday evenings at 6:00 PM. The tentative schedule is as follows:

Madd Truth: Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, and Nov. 18
When I Was Puerto Rican: Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Jan. 27, Feb. 3, and Feb. 10
Brooklyn Bred: May 12, May 19, May 26, and June 2

For more information about the NYSMBK Fellows Program and the 2021 Mastermind book studies, visit the Fellows Program page on NYSED's MBK website.
NYSMBK and CUNY Black Male Initiative Partnership
We proudly announce a partnership between NYSMBK and the CUNY Black Male Initiative (BMI)! With this partnership, CUNY will be able to support students and staff in the following ways:
  • All NYSMBK students will be able to preview up to three (3) of the thirty-one (31) CUNY Black Male Initiative programs through a virtual visit!  CUNY BMI exists on every campus; find your campus here.
  • When an MBK student joins a CUNY school and completes the interest form, the student will be automatically enrolled in the CUNY Black Male Initiative program and will be invited to get a CUNY BMI Mentor on Day 1 of their college career.
  • Every CUNY BMI student receives a mentor, socioemotional support, and academic enhancements to round out their college experience. Students who join CUNY BMI will be exposed to many opportunities, both from the CUNY campus and the CUNY BMI Central Office. Opportunities include the CUNY BMI Conference, the Doctoral Support Network, internships, and much more! 
Take a Look at Teaching
Take a Look at Teaching (TALAT) is an initiative led by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) to develop a robust and diverse statewide educator pipeline in New York. The goals of the TALAT initiative include to:

  • Increase the number of students and career changers entering careers in teaching.
  • Improve diversity in the education workforce.
  • Elevate the teaching profession, highlighting the benefits of a rewarding career in education.
  • Expand P-12/Higher Ed and community partnerships to enhance teacher recruitment and support early career educators.

Additionally, grant funding is available to NYSUT locals to support grow-your-own initiatives in K-12 districts and on SUNY, CUNY, and community college campuses. To learn more and join the TALAT initiative in your community or to share stories in your region, please contact or visit the TALAT website.
Family and Community Engagement Program (FCEP)
The purpose of the FCEP is to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color by developing and sustaining effective relationships with families that engender trust, confidence, and respect in order to achieve student success.
New FCEP projects
NYSED awarded more than $6 million in grants to 49 school districts for the NYSMBK Family and Community Engagement Program. These grants will support programs to increase the academic achievement and college and career readiness of boys and young men of color while fostering the development of effective relationships with families to promote the success of all students.

Some examples of programs include professional development on cultural responsiveness and awareness, equity, and inclusion; fatherhood programs; home visits; mental health and wellness workshops; and academic parent/teacher teams. The program also provides translation services, mentoring, and an array of supports for summer learning and college readiness.

The following 49 school districts received FCEP grant awards:

District (Grantee)

  1. Batavia City School District 
  2. Brentwood Union Free School District
  3. Buffalo Public Schools 
  4. Citywide Transfer High Schools- Mott Haven Community High & High School for Excellence and Innovation 
  5. Consortium International & Outward-Bound Schools 
  6. Dunkirk City School District
  7. Ellenville Central School District
  8. Elmira City School District 
  9. Enlarged City School District of Middletown
  10. Fallsburg Central School District
  11. Freeport Union Free School District
  12. Greenport Union Free School District
  13. Lockport City School District
  14. Lyons City School District
  15. Monticello Central School District
  16. Mount Pleasant Cottage Union Free School District
  17. Mount Vernon City School District
  18. Nassau BOCES: Consortium
  19. New York City Geographic District 4
  20. New York City Geographic District 5
  21. New York City Geographic District 7
  22. New York City Geographic District 8
  23. New York City Geographic District 12
  24. New York City Geographic District 13
  25. New York City Geographic District 14
  26. New York City Geographic District 15
  27. New York City Geographic District 16
  28. New York City Geographic District 17
  29. New York City Geographic District 23
  30. New York City Geographic District 27
  31. New York City Geographic District 30
  32. New York City Geographic District 31
  33. New York City Geographic District 75
  34. New York City Geographic District 79
  35. New York City Geographic District Consortium: HS#19 & CSD#19
  36. Niagara Falls City School District
  37. Ossining Union Free School District
  38. Peekskill City School District
  39. Poughkeepsie City School District
  40. Queens South High School
  41. Roosevelt Union Free School District
  42. Schenectady City School District
  43. Sodus Central School District
  44. Syracuse City School District
  45. Troy City School District
  46. Uniondale Union Free School District
  47. Watertown City School District
  48. Western Suffolk BOCES: Consortium
  49. Yonkers City School District
Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC II)
The purpose of TOC II is to increase the rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. TOC II programs incorporate strategies for teacher retention and best practice, such as mentors for new teachers and differentiated instructional techniques.
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced that NYSED awarded $3.45 million in TOC II grants to 17 New York colleges and universities. The project period is September 1, 2021 - August 31, 2026, with an anticipated allocation of $3.45 million annually.

Grants were awarded to the following colleges and universities:

  1. Bank Street College
  2. Bard College
  3. Clarkson University
  4. CUNY Hunter College
  5. CUNY Medgar Evers College
  6. CUNY Queens College
  7. CUNY York College
  8. Monroe College
  9. Nazareth College
  10. Pace University
  11. Siena College
  12. SUNY Brockport
  13. SUNY Buffalo State
  14. SUNY Cortland
  15. SUNY Old Westbury
  16. SUNY Oswego
  17. Teachers College, Columbia University
Learn More
Find out more about New York State's My Brother's Keeper initiative by visiting our MBK website. The website also includes sharable videos about MBK, featuring young men of color from New York State.
Join the Conversation
If your school or community would like to share a story to include in a future edition of this newsletter, please email photos and news items to

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