*Green Tech High Charter School in Albany, NY just celebrated the graduation of its senior class last weekend, continuing to silence critics of charter schools and those who deem it a waste of time to invest in urban, at-risk black boys.in Albany, NY just celebrated the graduation of its senior class last weekend, continuing to silence critics of charter schools and those who deem it a waste of time to invest in urban, at-risk black boys.
At the center of it all is Dr. Paul Miller, Green Tech’s passionate Principal and CEO, who has worked tirelessly since 2012 to place his boys (97% black males, 87% from poverty-stricken backgrounds) on a path to success. The results have been extraordinary, with 95% of students earning their diplomas and 100% of graduates being accepted to college from the all-boys school.
Needless to say, the system and culture of Green Tech would be well served as a model for failing urban schools around the country. They should pay attention.
“When I came in, there were many issues at the school that needed to be addressed from a financial and educational aspect. Also, the mindset of the students wasn’t where it needed to be,” Dr. Miller said. “There was a lot of apathy towards education. My staff and I had to work to change the climate and the culture. It definitely wasn’t easy, but the results of the work are evident. We are a living example that it can be done.”
According to a Stanford University study, nearly 50% of black boys are dropping out of U.S. high schools. Some schools have been able to solve the dilemma, but most urban school districts are still begging the questions – ‘How do we get our students more engaged and performing at the level they should? How do we get them to stay in school?’
“You have to truly care about your students to really help them. They have to understand that failure is not an option. I hate to say it, but there are a lot of teachers out there who are going through the motions,” Dr. Miller said. “We purposefully develop relationships with our students. Our teacher training programs are focused on educating the urban child and cultural awareness. The first few weeks of school are on relationship-building rather than instruction. We also have a lyceum model on character development and we pair students with an adviser that remains with them for all four years.”
His point? “You must establish a strong connection with your students where they see you as someone they can trust and listen to. This opens the door for learning,” he said.
Present-day media is inundated with images of young black men getting into trouble, being treated unjustly, and far too many, losing their lives before they ever really start. In a world where poor, disadvantaged black boys are frequently written off as failures and trouble makers, Green Tech High Charter School is showing what the phrase “it takes a village” truly means.
“Our kids are taught that Green Tech is a family and the Albany community is their home,” Dr. Miller said. “We have our pay-it forward program where we do random acts of kindness throughout the year. We feed people, we are involved in breast cancer awareness for women….recently we raised $25,000 for a former student of ours who was battling cancer.”
He added: “This year we also organized a non-violence week with the Albany Police Department which allowed our young men to connect with officers, discuss concerns and bridge the communication gap. From that, we have established a cadet program that exposes our kids to that career so they can make an impact in their communities. We don’t take it easy on our students because our top priority is for them to graduate, go to college and to become successful men.”
Moving forward Dr. Miller plans to travel the country to train struggling schools on how to establish a culture of success. By following his blueprint, he believes schools will see dramatic improvements in student performance within the first year.
For more information on Green Tech High Charter School, visit the website at www.greentechhigh.org. Also, Dr. Paul Miller can be followed on Facebook at @PaulMiller.EdD or on Instagram at @docmiller42. Check out his Tedx speech entitled “We Need to Do Better” above.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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