African American Male and Female Initiatives

Part of work the Shorewood School District is doing--along with other North Shore Districts—as part of the Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium (CAGC) includes the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) and the African American Female Initiative (AAFI).
Colleges and universities in the United States are struggling to enroll, retain and graduate African American male and female students. Additionally as a subgroup, African American males perform at the lowest level of minority groups on measures of achievement while African American females perform at some of the lowest levels, so to help address these challenges the CAGC formed Initiatives which support young men and women of African descent toward higher levels of academic performance in a K-12 setting.
A main objective of the Initiatives is to assist African American students in their persistence toward college readiness and completion. One of the ways this is accomplished is through the AAMI & AAFI Summer Institutes held annually at Concordia University’s Mequon campus. Thanks to a generous grant by the Spector Scholarship Fund, Shorewood students interested in attending either Institute are fully funded and there is no cap for the number of participants (though an application is required).
Shorewood student participants spend a few days, along with students from other area high schools, experiencing what life on a University campus is like, which includes sleeping in the dorms and taking classes designed to prepare them for college. The participants have the opportunity to develop relationships with local Milwaukee role models, learn effective academic and organizational strategies, cultivate positive social-emotional and interpersonal skills, and much more.
At the recent Shorewood School Board meeting on September 10th, teacher aide and campus supervisor Brandon Hemphil along with SHS sophomore Bryan Terry Jr. shared their experiences in the Summer Institute, being a head director and participant, respectively.

“It was a great time and it’s just one of the ways we’re doing our work to close the achievement gap,” says Hemphil. “As an Institute director, it’s so important for these students to be able to connect and see leaders, who are like them, succeeding… The participants get to take a lot of field trips and talk to company leaders in Milwaukee. They take a money literacy course and learn how to open checking and savings account, save for college, and build credit. The Institute really helps guide the students to be productive young men in the future, and it makes me very proud to be a part of the program and to represent Shorewood.”
“ I look forward to [the Institute] every summer,” says Terry. “It’s such a cool experience for me, being on a real college campus and staying there for a few days. Where else can you really get that experience while in high school? The inspiring leaders you find there, and the interesting, inspirational stories coming from people who have a similar background is why I think this camp is so important and necessary… they cover so many important topics – how to build a resume, how to dress for an interview, how to get a future corporate job which you don’t learn about too much in high school. It’s such a cool thing which I appreciate and I’m glad I get to go each year.”
According to Hemphil, each year in the Institute focuses on a different concept:
Year One: Rising freshmen focus on self respect and self love
Year Two: Rising Sophomores focus on school and academics/leadership in school
Year Three: Rising Juniors focus on community and being leader in the community
Year Four: Rising Seniors use what they’ve learned about self, school and community to focus on being leaders in training (they serve director assistants for the Institute)

View the full AAMI School Board presentation below:

SHS sophomore Olivia Evans and Atwater principal Ebony Grice, who serve as an AAFI participant and planning committee member, respectively, also shared their own Summer Institute experiences with the Board at the Annual Meeting in August.
“Girls should want to attend the AAFI program because it offers great life skills and you are able to meet amazing mentors,” says Evans.
Pictured upper right: Superintendent Davis and the young ladies from Shorewood who participated in AAFI.

For more information on the African American Youth Initiative through the CAGC, visit: