March 2022
Dr. Anael Alston
Dear MBK Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

As the school year moves along and spring is upon us, I remain inspired by the creativity, courage, and commitment that I am witnessing across this great state. People are sacrificing and working together to make all our lived realities safer and better. We celebrate, thank, and acknowledge everyone who plays a role in or supports educating our students.

I had the good fortune of visiting the Schenectady City School District last month as they relaunched their MBK initiative to improve the outcomes of boys and young men of color - and all students. Nearly 100 students, staff, faculty, community leaders, and elected officials, including Mayor Gary McCarthy, met to hear Superintendent Anibal Soler and his team launch the vision for Schenectady MBK and hear what students have experienced in Schenectady MBK thus far. Below are pictures and a video that captured the moment.
Schenectady MBK students
Photo Credit: Paul Nelson
Schenectady MBK event
Photo Credit: Dave Lucas
As we welcome spring, it is time for our New York State MBK Symposium as well as naming the 2022 Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship winners. 
The 2022 MBK Virtual Symposium will be held on April 28 and April 29, 2022, from 9:45 AM (check-in) to 1:30 PM.

Please visit the 2022 MBK Symposium web page for additional details and registration information.

This year, our theme is "The Power of Now." Many of our presenters will share what they are doing NOW to improve the lives of the young people we are charged to serve and what we can do NOW to empower ourselves during this moment in time. We are highlighting local leaders and bringing in national experts to INSPIRE, INFORM, and ENGAGE symposium attendees. To date, local leaders include Mr. Anibal Soler, Superintendent of Schenectady City School District; Dr. Ray Sanchez, Superintendent of Ossining School District; Ms. Jolene DiBrango, Executive Vice-President of NYSUT; Mr. Rashaun Banjo from the New York City Department of Education; and many more!
Regarding the 2022 Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship, the deadline for all applications is March 31, 2022. Scholarship awards are limited to cover tuition, fees, and books, and range between $500 and $2,000 annually over four years of college enrollment. For more details and to download the application, visit the Vice Chancellor Emerita Adelaide L. Sanford Scholarship page on our MBK website.

Thank you for all that you are doing to support the future of this nation by supporting students and ensuring that all students, in fact, means ALL students. 
Your Partner in Education,

Dr. Anael Alston
Assistant Commissioner
My History, My Future: Lifting Student Voices
This February, NYSED and The Education Trust-New York teamed up again to elevate student voices in honor of Black History Month for the fifth year of the #MyHistoryMyFuture social media campaign. Each year, the campaign highlights the New York State MBK initiative and features inspiring quotes from outstanding students who shared how MBK has positively changed their lives and their hopes and dreams for the future.

All the student quotes from this year’s campaign can be found on our NYSMBK Twitter account.
New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibit
To kick off 2022, NYSED honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy through an exhibition of student art and essays that reflect his teachings.

We are thrilled with the quality and creativity of student essays and artwork illustrating the Six Principles and Steps of Nonviolence. Students from more than 90 schools statewide submitted original pieces to be featured in the exhibition! The students’ work was displayed virtually as part of the 2022 New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance.

A piece of student art was featured each day on our social media channels from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through the end of Black History Month in February. Featured student artwork can be found on our NYSMBK Twitter account.
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.
Mastermind Calls for MBK Fellows
We are excited that we are in the midst of our programming with the 2021 MBK Fellows! This year, we implemented three Mastermind book studies with the MBK Fellows, district leaders, and their mentors. We have successfully completed reading Madd Truth by Reverend Dr. Alfonso Wyatt and When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago. We are looking forward to our final book, 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:

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.
Native American Program
The purpose of the Native American Program is to increase the academic achievement and college/career readiness of Native American students, with an emphasis on boys and young men.
Native American Program Spotlight: Salamanca
Salamanca City School District recently launched the A.C.E. Mentoring Program for Indigenous males in grades 6 through 12.

The acronym A.C.E. stands for:
A = being an Asset to the community
C = Contributing to the sustainability of the community
E = Exemplifying one’s best self.

Led by Karina Flagg, Mentor Coordinator, and Don “Flip” White, Mentor Consultant, the A.C.E. Mentoring Program is organized through the My Brother’s Keeper Native American Program grant offered by the New York State Education Department. The goals of the grant are to provide culturally centered interactions and role modeling in an effort to increase academic achievement and college/career readiness for Indigenous male youth.

Organized in collaboration with the Seneca Nation, A.C.E. is providing positive community role models for native male youth. According to Flagg, “This is a new program designed to match native students with a community member who can identify and prioritize their best interests. We have great community members and we want and need them to become these amazing students’ mentors.”

“We have a growing group of people who have been oriented through the A.C.E. Mentoring Program and have become a friend, coach, and guide,” added White, while noting, “The key investment is the mentor’s time…time and caring.” White stressed that a culturally centered program has advantages, as it enables youth to participate in group activities like learning how to drum and sing with the Old Bridge Singers, or in other words, to do those things most of us take a deep interest in.

“These group activities are important for our young people to realize and meet these ‘A.C.E.’ community members,” continued Flagg. "For most of the youth, they were initially hesitant but after a while, they were excited to join in the songs.”

The program allows the mentors and mentees to meet for one hour each week. Each mentor and mentee relationship is unique, and the program offers a wide variety of opportunities to build a positive, lasting relationship and trust.

Upcoming group events include Indigenous Carving Techniques with Hayden Haynes, Indigenous Themed Board Games with Dallas Hoag, Native Leatherworking with Cliff Redeye, Indigenous Fashion and Bead Working with Breann “Breezy” Crouse, Gawasa’ with Kory Dowdy, and Cooke’n with Culture hosted by Andrea Cooke.
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.
FCEP Spotlight: Ossining
Anne M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining recently hosted an event to celebrate its MBK scholars and the successful growth of the MBK movement in Ossining's schools and community.

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. was the keynote speaker for the event, referencing the Blueprint speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered to middle school students in 1967. As he addressed attendees about the My Brother’s Keeper movement, Chancellor Young spoke about the importance of having a blueprint that can serve as a foundation for life. Read more about this event and Ossining MBK.
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.
TOC II Spotlight: Nazareth College
Nazareth book study
Nazareth College kicked off the spring semester with a series of professional development workshops.

The first of the series was a book study led by Mr. Stanley Ekiyor, a Behavior Specialist for the Rochester City School District. Participants shared ideas on how to incorporate principles from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less into healthy teaching practices that benefit both themselves and their students. Members of the group reported that they found the book and the group session both beneficial and a great way to jump-start both the new year and their semester.
Another initiative underway is a newly formed collaborative of more than 20 students, alumni, faculty, and staff participating in the Zinn Education Project's national Teaching for Black Lives Teacher Study Group. A prime focus of the initiative is to translate concepts to action and education in a specific, local context. The group gathered virtually, commencing upon goals that envision education for Black lives in alignment with teaching for themselves and sharing with others while exemplifying the principles of social justice and anti-racist education as they "walk the talk." Like previous professional growth initiatives, this project is designed to provide students with knowledge and support as they embark upon careers in teaching as agents of change.
Learn More
Find out more about New York State's My Brother's Keeper initiative by visiting our MBK website.
Join the Conversation
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