Since 2012, the NYC Department of Education's Expanded Success Initiative (ESI) has provided funding and professional development to 40 City high schools with the goal of helping them develop new strategies (or expand existing efforts) aimed at increasing college and career readiness for Black and Latino male students. As part of our larger evaluation of ESI, the Research Alliance is conducting in-depth case studies in five ESI schools, observing programs in action, and speaking with educators, school leaders, and students about the specific practices they have changed as part of ESI. Drawing on these sources, we have compiled a set of guides that provide concrete examples of how ESI schools are attempting to boost college readiness for young men of color. Each guide describes a specific approach and offers tips, discussion questions, and resources for educators who may want to pursue this strategy. This guide focuses on Culturally Relevant Education, a topic that principals, teachers, and guidance counselors across ESI schools identified as important for creating an environment that supports and welcomes young men of color. CRE is a way of teaching that strives to empower students by incorporating their cultures, backgrounds, and experiences into the school environment and classroom activities. CRE also attempts to help schools address underlying biases educators may have about their students -- particularly Black and Latino males. The guide highlights practices three ESI schools use to bring CRE to life, including:
- Taking advantage of CRE professional development opportunities;
- Incorporating students' experiences and interests into curricula;
- Addressing teachers' mindsets and beliefs;
- Applying CRE in the classroom;
- Supporting English language learners and bilingual students; and
- Embracing diversity within and across cultures.