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Ivory Toldson to Address Solutions to Academic Success for African American Youth Sept. 10 at Monroe Elementary

Ivory A. Toldson, the author of a 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation-sponsored study that proposes solutions to academic success for school-age African American males, will speak at a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at Norfolk's Monroe Elementary School on ways to make meaningful changes in the lives of at-risk students.

Titled "Breaking Barriers: Creating Pathways to Academic Excellence for African American Youth," the program is being sponsored by the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University. Co-sponsors include the Park Place Civic League, ODU's Program for Research and Evaluation in Public Schools (PREPS) and the ODU Community Development Corporation (CDC).

Cassandra Duke-Washington, the principal of Monroe Elementary School, will open the evening by welcoming her teachers and members of the community.

Parents, students, teachers and civic and business leaders from the Park Place neighborhood, along with counselors from Hampton Roads' 16 school districts and counseling faculty members from ODU and Norfolk State University, have been invited to attend the program.

"The Darden College of Education is committed to improving the academic achievement of all children," said William Graves, dean of the college. "One group of young Americans, those who are male and African American, are not succeeding academically as well as our nation needs for them to succeed. This community-based program is a first step in bringing the communities together to address this problem, one of the most important educational crises of our day. Dr. Toldson, I am sure, will inspire us as we begin our first steps."

In his 2008 study, "Breaking Barriers: Plotting the Path to Academic Success for School-age African-American Males" (http://www.cbcfinc.org/images/pdf/Breaking_Barriers.pdf), Toldson, an associate professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, analyzes academic success indicators from national surveys and suggests policy solutions that will assist policymakers, educators, school advocates, families and others in enabling African-American males to have greater success in the classroom and afterward.

Toldson, who serves as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education, the country's oldest black continuous publication, is also an award-winning author. He won EboNetwork's Changing Faces award for outstanding literary achievement for his novel, "Black Sheep." He was the fourth recipient of the prestigious DuBois Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In addition to Toldson's talk, members of a local panel will answer the question: "What are your dreams for a community where families, businesses and others join together in an organized way to support the education and general well-being of their children?" Members of the panel will include: Geraldine Boone, coordinator of the master's program in music at Norfolk State University; Daun Hester, Norfolk City Council member and chair of the council's Church Street/Huntersville and Park Place/Lambert's Point task forces; and Rodney Jordan, president of the Park Place Civic League. Hester and Jordan are both ODU CDC board members. Christine Ward, research scientist with PREPS, will moderate the panel.

As part of the Sept. 10 program, Monroe second-graders will sing a song they wrote, "I Have a Dream," under the direction of Tina Micula, artist-in-residence at Monroe Elementary and College Park Elementary in Virginia Beach. PREPS sponsors a program with Monroe Elementary, a songwriting action research project called Melodyville Players, in which Micula trains teachers to use songwriting to address children's long-term memory.

This article was posted on: September 1, 2009

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