March 11, 2013
Boys & Girls Club, Madison schools team up more to boost achievement
During her sophomore year at Madison East High School, Awa Fofana was facing a personal health crisis and her parents' divorce when a teacher recommended she join the AVID/TOPS program.
Posted by Jim Zellmer at March 11, 2013 2:24 AM
Now a senior and headed to UW-Madison next fall to study nursing, Fofana credits the program, a partnership between the Madison School District and Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, with helping her succeed where other students facing similar challenges at home often do not.
"It's hard to find someone who would support you through times like that," Fofana said. "(AVID/TOPS) has been that push to do the things I need to do."
AVID/TOPS -- a college preparatory program for students in the academic middle -- is one of the central pieces of an ambitious $15 million expansion the local Boys & Girls Club is planning over the next six years.
The expansion represents a shift for the organization from recreational after-school programming to academic support services. It comes as the School District renews its focus on raising low-income and minority student achievement, and reflects increasing ties between the club and the district.
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I'm struck by this comment of Kaleem Caire's and wonder what other people make of it:
But Urban League of Greater Madison president Kaleem Caire, who sought unsuccessfully for School District support to launch a charter school for low-income and minority students, said the Boys & Girls Club should be careful not to deviate from its recreational mission.
"If it focuses too much on academics, then these kids who grow up poor, all they're doing is going to school — but going to school for what?" Caire said. "(The Boys & Girls Club) can play an essential role in addressing the achievement gap by doing what it's doing well."
To repeat: "If it focuses too much on academics, then these kids who grow up poor, all they're doing is going to school -- but going to school for what?"
I thought we wanted all kids of color and poverty to be performing at the proficient and advanced levels? I thought we wanted to do whatever it takes -- as a unified community -- to make that happen. How is this program so different in intent from the Urban League's middle school after-school tutoring program?
Might this be sour grapes and evidence of a shameful turf battle?
I don't make anything out of Caire's comments. I doubt that the single sentence quoted in the article is the only thing he said. I'm sure there were questions asked, and whole paragraphs from Caire surrounding the single sentence that was quoted.
I wonder what was said that wasn't quoted. Nope. Statements out of context mean nothing.
My first reaction to Kaleem's comment was that he doesn't want The Boys and Girls Club to get too involved with improving academics because that might undercut the need for a charter school, but after reading the first comment, I'd agree that there's something disconcerting about a complaint that students would spend too much time on academics.
Having talked to Caire on several, but not nearly, enough occasions, I can tell you he does not speak in one-liners. He has always surrounded his statements with me in complete thoughts and contexts, and done so with the focus, I'm sure, of being fully understood.
So, my comment above was not so much of "I really don't know what he meant because it is out of context", but "Because there was no context reported around this statement, you can be sure implications that you make using this statement as points of departure for your own views will most assuredly be wrong."