Greetings Noble Family,

Happy Black History Month! Given the current climate of the world and what we’ve endured (and are potentially still enduring) in 2020 makes this month even more meaningful for me. It is an opportunity to reflect and be inspired by my ancestors’ legacy while naming the work that is still to be done. One of my favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela reads, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” This sentiment is one of the reasons I got into education. I believe the brilliance of our Black and Brown students has the potential and power to reinvent a society that was never created for them and reimagine a world where their success is finally normal.

During Network PD of February 2020, I announced the creation of the Black Scholar Experience Working Group, a group called upon to address Noble’s gaps in its understanding of the Black student experience and to inform future policies and potential supports for our Black students, most urgently, our Black boys. As a direct result of our strategic plan that named the need to identify practices that benefit our Black boys, I was pumped to get to work and do my part in seeing this happen. And so were many of you!

Then, Covid happened to us all and disrupted much of the work that was underway. And while we could have paused the work of the Black Scholar Experience Working Group, the palpable impact of racism, the pervasiveness of police brutality, and the visual harm to Black bodies week after week made this work all too important to halt.

  • Black boys make up approximately 20% of Noble’s total student population, yet during SY 2019-2020, 47% of our expulsions were Black boys.
  • In the Fall of 2019, almost 1/4 of our Black boys did not enroll in college
  • Black boys are two times more likely to receive a detention or suspension at Noble; this situation is even more likely if the Black child has an IEP.

Given the urgency of the data before us, we forged ahead despite the conditions. Our team of 18 staff members from 11 campuses and NST journeyed to understand the critical elements of the Noble experience for our Black boys. Even using “Black boy” to describe our students was intentional. We wanted to honor their innocence, given that society most often paints them as adults and uses this forced adulthood to vilify them. We began this work in what I like to call the “in-between”; before the announcement of becoming an antiracist organization and afterward while working on what that actually meant for Noble. This group was unapologetically committed to doing this work from an antiracist lens. As one of our committee members, Chelsea Emond, named it, “we have to be transformative in this work and not just performative.” So this group worked to provide a series of resolutions that have the potential to greatly impact the experience of all of our students. We were even blessed by the anecdotes and narratives of 15 of our own Black boys (current students and alumni) whose respective and collective experiences served to guide our proposed resolutions.

We invite you to review the final report of the Black Scholar Experience Working Group. Please know while this work happened in the “in-between,” it is rooted in our Antiracist Commitment and upholds the spirit of centering the voices of our people, students, and staff, specifically. We hope that this serves as a vehicle to begin reconciliation for our Black boys and a roadmap for an improved educational community. Acknowledging the harm that may have been done and making the necessary changes so that when we have the privilege of their presence again, they know we can build schools with them in mind, and they can see it in our actions. Please note, this is not the conclusion of the work. This is our first step in a journey of partnership with our Black boys in designing Noble spaces that engender positive Noble experiences and to reassure them that who they are is, in fact, not a barrier but a strength and an asset. Please note, the body of work produced by the Black Scholar Experience Working Group is not the start or end of our efforts to dismantle racism at Noble. This will be one key component of the work to come as we seek to live up to our Anti-racism commitment. This group will continue to work together to assess the success of these resolutions and continue to identify avenues for Noble to grow in support of our Black students.

Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not express my sincerest gratitude to all those who participated in this working group. To you, I say thank you. Your work and brilliance is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Janine Franklin, PhD
Director of Student Culture & Support

Read the full report here.

Working Group Members

Student & Alumni Members

Chelsea Emond, Bulls
Delaina Martin, Bulls
Brian Riddick, Butler
Richard Mosley, Comer
Lashaun Crosby, DRW
Cicele Bennett, Golder

Emmanuel Jackson, Muchin
Kemba Kelly, Noble Street
Janine Franklin, NST
Christina Ginardi, NST
Amber Johnson, NST
Nicholas Jones, NST
Tierionna Pinkston, NST
Jason Ronai, NST
Eric Smith, Pritzker
Quincy Hudson, Rauner
Rashad Davis, Rowe-Clark
Nichelle Washington, UIC

Abdoullaye Doucoure, Baker
George Beecham, Bulls
Michael Dunlap, GCCP
Emmanuel Guah, GCCP
Tavion Pates, GCCP
Sebastian Stewart, GCCP
Kentrall Smith, GCCP
Alan Wright, GCCP
Jarius Booze, Golder
Garvin Randy, Golder
Martrell Wright, Johnson
Seth Hilton, Muchin
Jaylen Moore, Muchin
Clarence Atkins, Noble Street
Anthony Wright, UIC

Have other ideas of stories we should share? Please send your ideas to communications@nobleschools.org

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