New initiative launched to improve the lives of SCS African-American boys in and out of the classroom

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Monday morning, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray unveiled the African-American Male Empowerment initiative.

It’s aimed at African-American boys in SCS, who are enrolling at a higher rate but also performing the worst on end-of-course testing and have the highest suspension rates of any group of students in the district.

Dr. Ray, University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, and MPD Director Mike Rallings walked in solidarity into the National Civil Rights Museum Monday to show the community the need for more adult mentors in every Memphis ZIP code.

The initiative will work to reverse SCS African-American boys left behind academically and economically. Dr. Ray said Monday the inequities these students face is a stunning trend and unacceptable.

The initiative will focus on seven priorities, including new mentoring and tutoring programs and the hiring of more African-American teachers in K-5.

Dr. Ray said the district can’t afford to wait any longer without bold action.

He urged Memphis men to join the effort, by mentoring and investing in those African-American students.  

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