Alpha Phi Alpha Developing Future Leaders

I had the honor this past weekend of attending the Alpha Phi Alpha Eastern Region Leadership Development Institute’s Ecumenical and Awards Program. The program is designed to equip young African American males, ages 15 to 19, with leadership skills. This year’s theme was “Leadership: Learning, Leading and Leveraging.” The program was on the campus of Howard University, in Washington, D.C. The young men, called ambassadors, one of whom was my cousin, were from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. They participated …

What It Takes to Help Students Graduate

By Lester Strong We had good news this year in education. U.S. graduation rates are up by 6.5 percent since 2001. For those of us who work to improve children’s potential to graduate, it’s a validation that we’re making strides. Still, many problems remain that impact graduation rates in this country. One major challenge is that many children are still not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. In fact, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, students who …

Celebrating 100 Days of School on the Wall

Today my class of Experience Corps students celebrated their 100th day of school!  When I got to school the teacher had placed “100th day of school” signs all over the walls.  To celebrate, the children made crowns with a “100” featured prominently on the front, and decorated their headband with 100 hearts, numbers, triangles, dots, letters-whatever they were moved to create.  And even if they didn’t get 100 “somethings” down on the paper, when the adults stapled the bands to fit …