Top photo, from left are Kevin Polston, Bill Pink, Philomena Mantella, Quentin Ross and Khalid Mumin.
K-12 and higher education leaders addressed the challenges of the systems that impact Black men and boys and the need to create conditions for their success at a symposium sponsored by the Division of Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach.
At the Black Boys and Men Symposium, President Philomena V. Mantella was joined by Quentin Ross, president of Alabama State University; Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College and soon Ferris State University; and Kevin Polston, superintendent of Kentwood Public Schools. The moderator was Khalid Mumin, superintendent of Lower Merion School District in Pennsylvania.
Polston said the Kentwood school district is the most diverse in Michigan and the sixth most diverse in the country. Yet its teaching staff is more than 80 percent white, standard for K-12 public districts.
"Representation matters," he said. "For African American students in third through fifth grades, having one Black teacher during those years helps grow their grade level by one year."