CINCINNATI — WLWT 5 — Cincinnati Public Schools are made up of 70 percent minority students
A decade ago the graduation rate was 51 percent. It’s now at almost 75 percent.
That’s improvement, but there are plans in place to help black males become even more successful in the classroom. It requires help from many different partners outside the school system.
“Urban centers in Ohio educate 15 to 20 percent of the students in the state, and (Cincinnati Public Schools comprise) only eight districts out of 613,” said Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ronan.
Ronan is focused on three things when it comes to educating high school kids in Cincinnati: Getting them ready for college, full time employment or the military. Two years ago CPS started the My Tomorrow program designed to fast track students toward college.
“Hopefully they see themselves in college and they'll continue to Cincinnati State or any other public college in Ohio,” said Ronan.
Another vital tool for young black men: The Men Organized, Respectful and Educated (MORE) program. It’s designed to keep young black males on a path toward higher education with a business-like approach.
“It’s about not only academics but character education, and these young men wear shirt and ties to school, they’re role models for the other students, they’re ambassadors in the community,” Ronan said.
“It does amaze me at how many kids want to come; it does amaze me at how many are telling their friends about it,” said Dominique Barber, a Boys and Girls Club staff member.
And partners like The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati are helping close the educational gap. Barber knows how vital the educational services they provide really are, especially since 83 percent of their kids are at or below the poverty line.
“When they come here they are welcomed and embraced by welcoming staff, loving, caring staff who really care about after their future. And they need that. And they get that in school but it’s also important to have a place after school where they have that,” said Barber.
Even now during the summer months, students can brush up on their skills. Brent Seelmeyer is the president of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati. He knows every bit of instruction helps.
“We are serving 5,000 to 6,000 kids in some of the toughest, most vulnerable neighborhoods,” said Seelmeyer.
He also mentors a young black male who is currently at Northern Kentucky University. Seelmeyer said the feeling he gets from watching this young man succeed is nothing short of amazing.
“It’s the greatest feeling on earth,” said Seelmeyer. “It doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t think of a more worthwhile endeavor—I can’t think of a more worthwhile thing to invest in, quite frankly, than people.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati are serving more than a third of young people, or 4 million young people around the country, and their impact report states that 100 percent of their kids are graduating high school.