Campus: San Francisco State University -- August 1, 2000

Using African And African American History, Culture To Get Underachieving Black Students 'Collegebound'

San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Unified School District are teaming up to use African and African American history and culture to teach basic skills to underachieving black students in San Francisco to better prepare them for college.

The "Collegebound" Program will begin this summer initially at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School in the Bayview neighborhood.

"We look forward to working collaboratively with the school district is using the university's resources to help these students," said S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan. "This is an urgent problem that we all need to address."

Added Linda Davis, interim superintendent of the S.F. Unified School District: "The school district is pleased to work with the university in providing our students with the academic and cultural backgrounds necessary to succeed in school and at the university level."

A recent national study predicts that participation by blacks in higher education will decrease in proportion to their population over the next 15 years.

In the fall, Collegebound will expand to include as many as 200 children from elementary school to high school in after school classes and Saturday sessions.

"We are going to get children interested in reading and writing by using materials that they are excited about," said Ruth Love, a professor of education and black studies at S.F. State who created the program. Love said the lessons might cover the history of black inventors or the latest about black athletes or entertainers. "These are areas that kids are excited about. It will get them reading and writing and help them do better in school."

A pilot session of the program begins June 19 at King Middle School. When the program begins in the fall it will be made up three components:

  • The middle and high school immersion program will provide college preparatory courses after school each day. Instruction will be geared toward helping black students pass university entrance examinations and entry-level college courses.

  • After school academies will be set up in elementary schools. Using creative approaches with dance, music and games, teachers will use black history to teach reading, math, language arts and writing.

  • And a Saturday School will be set up for students to attend on weekends. The Saturday sessions will supplement the after school sessions. In addition to instruction on the basics, students also will learn about African and African American philosophy.

The Saturday School with its emphasis on ancient African values and cultural orientation was conceived by Oba T'Shaka, professor of black studies at S.F. State and an authority on African philosophy.

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