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Superintendent Aleesia Johnson talks growth, racial equity at IPS ‘State of the District’

INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER — Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson delivered the first “State of the District” speech Oct. 9 at Shortridge High School, where she highlighted increased student enrollment and reiterated her priorities that include racial equity and being transparent with families.

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Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson delivered the first "State of the District" address Oct. 9 at Shortridge High School. (Photo by: Tyler Fenwick)

By Tyler Fenwick

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson delivered the first “State of the District” speech Oct. 9 at Shortridge High School, where she highlighted increased student enrollment and reiterated her priorities that include racial equity and being transparent with families.

Johnson, the first African American woman to lead the state’s largest school district, made racial equity one of the most prominent themes when she was the interim superintendent earlier this year and vying for the permanent job.

About 44% of IPS students in the 2018-19 school year were Black, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education. In numerous achievement standards, including recently released ILEARN scores, Black students lag behind their white and Asian peers.

In the 2015-16 school year, Black students in IPS made up well over half of in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, despite enrollment being less than 50%, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

“IPS is not unique in this regard,” Johnson told the audience. “It holds true for most districts across our state and country, and it should not be so. This is why having a racial equity mindset is a non-negotiable for our district.”

Johnson recognized Dr. Patricia Payne, who leads the district’s Racial Equity Initiative, and Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56 principal Christine Rembert, who couldn’t attend the event because she was at a racial equity conference.

After a steady decline in enrollment for at least the last 15 years, IPS is projecting a second straight year of increased enrollment, up to more than 32,000 this year. The state’s next largest district, Fort Wayne Community Schools, had an enrollment of 29,404 last year, according to the state.

“We will never consent to being viewed as a second-class school district,” Johnson said. “We will never consent to our students being defined as less than the brilliant, resilient and capable young people that they are. We are inferior to no one.”

Those 32,000 students are spread out across multiple school models. IPS operates 48 schools and is partnered with 21 Innovation Network Schools, which have autonomy but are still considered part of IPS in exchange for the district getting to count their enrollment and academic data.

About 25% of IPS students attended innovation schools at the start of this school year.

Once IPS began approving partnerships with innovation schools in 2015, district parents became frustrated with what they felt was a lack of transparency and communication about how the district was changing. It was a major theme in the 2018 general election, when two critics of the district’s direction were elected to the school board.

Johnson emphasized this year’s theme for the district — “Stronger Together” — throughout her speech and highlighted that what used to be the newly branded Office of Communications and Engagement. The school board also approved the creation of the Family and Community Engagement team, part of the Office of Communications and Engagement, which will work with families and local organizations.

“We have renewed and re-energized our drive to engage families, team members and the community in authentic and collaborative partnerships to improve student outcomes,” Johnson said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

This article originally appeared in The Indianapolis Recorder.

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PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream

NNPA NEWSWIRE — During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.
The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Astronaut, doctor and non-profit executive are honored for outstanding achievements in advancing lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For the first time in its history, the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event selected women for each of its highest accolades: the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream award and the Legacy Award. The event, held Thursday, Sept. 29 celebrates the achievements of African Americans who embody the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and its founder, Danny Thomas who believed that no child, regardless of race should die in the dawn of life.

Dr. Patricia Adams-Graves, professor in the hematology/oncology division at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and a provider at Regional One Health is one of few hematologists in Memphis to serve and care for adults living with Sickle Cell Disease, and Dr. Sian Proctor, an accomplished civilian astronaut, pilot, advocate for women of color in the space industry, entrepreneur, and professor of American geology, were both presented with the Spirit of the Dream award. Emily Greer, a 30-year executive leader, most recently as Chief Administrative Officer for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, received the St. Jude Legacy Award for her tireless service to St. Jude as a trusted advisor to CEO, Rick Shadyac. Though Greer retired in 2021, she remains committed to the mission of St. Jude.

Each honoree has made a significant impact far beyond their local communities. Together, their multiple accomplishments reflect the foundational pillars of St. Jude: research, treatment, and philanthropy.

“I didn’t come to ALSAC almost 30 years ago with the idea of sitting here today,” said Greer. “I came with the idea of serving these children and these families who get the worst news of all: that your child has cancer. And I just tried to do my small part in making a difference in their lives. It’s an honor to be recognized in this way to do work that was my privilege to do.”

The event also comes on the heels of the first anniversary of Inspiration4, the first all-civilian spaceflight to orbit the Earth, which landed safely back on Earth thanks to Dr. Proctor’s skillful navigation as the mission pilot. Inspiration4 captivated space fans the world over and raised nearly $250 million for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.

“When I won the prosperity seat on the Inspiration4 mission, my entire life shifted,” said Dr. Proctor. “Becoming connected to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the mission of ending childhood cancer resonated with me to my core and allowed me to unleash the very best version of myself.”

During the St. Jude Spirit of the Dream event, guests heard about the strides made by St. Jude on racial equity since its founding in 1962 as the South’s first fully integrated children’s hospital. As part of this commitment to racial equity, St. Jude launched a sickle cell program in 1968 to study this disease, which disproportionately affects African American people. That program has grown to become one of the largest in the U.S.

As a physician in Memphis, Dr. Adams-Graves continues to extend quality care to sickle cell patients in the greater Midsouth region. “Receiving this award is an honor, pleasure and validation of the service that I have been walking in my life to improve the quality of life for individuals, both children and adults, living with sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Adams-Graves.

Past honorees include Dr. Rudolph Jackson, one of the first Black doctors at St. Jude, Penny Hardaway, University of Memphis Tigers head men’s basketball coach, and the city of Memphis.

To learn more and donate, visit stjude.org/spiritofthedream.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962. St. Jude won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

The post PRESS ROOM: Black Female Excellence Takes Center Stage at St. Jude Spirit Of The Dream first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election

WESTSIDE GAZETTE — The deadline to request a UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballot is 5:00 p.m. October 29, 2022. UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballots can be returned by mail or faxed directly to the Supervisor of Elections office. Ballots cannot be emailed to us.
The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Submitted by Ivan Castro | The Westside Gazette

BROWARD COUNTY, FL. — Over 4,000 Vote-By-Mail ballots for the General Election were sent to military and overseas citizens on September 24, 2022. In addition to registering to vote online, UOCAVA voters may request a Vote-By-Mail Ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).

The deadline to request a UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballot is 5:00 p.m. October 29, 2022.

UOCAVA Vote-By-Mail ballots can be returned by mail or faxed directly to the Supervisor of Elections office. Ballots cannot be emailed to us.

An overseas voter has 10 extra days from election day for their Vote-By-Mail ballot to be received. The ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day November 8th.

Important Dates and Information for the General Election

  • New voters must be registered by Tuesday, October 11, 2022
  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022

For further information regarding UOCAVA voters visit http://www.browardvotes.gov/Voter-Information/Oversees-Military-Voters.

Please visit our website browardvotes.gov, follow us on social media @browardvotes, and for media questions please contact: icastro@browardvotes

The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election appeared first on The Westside Gazette.

The post Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) Vote-By-Mail Ballots to Be Mailed for the November 8, 2022, General Election first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Hip-hop means everything to Benny The Butcher. Hip-Hop is the reason why I’m here. You see I’m nominated for Collab of the Year. You see I’m nominated for Lyricist of the Year. It means everything. I’m going to be there on the red carpet tomorrow with my s— on like this.
The post What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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The breakthrough for the Bufflao, New York, MC came later than most, but it’s here and it’s glorious

By Rashad Miligan | RollingOut.com

You never know when your life is going to change. Hip-hop has traditionally been considered as a space for young people. Two of this generation’s most influential artists, Chief Keef and Pop Smoke, both had their breakthroughs as teenagers. Nas released one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time with Illmatic at 17.

For Benny The Butcher, however, the breakthrough came at 34 in 2019 with the rise of his rap group Griselda, based out of Buffalo, New York. The group helped bring the grimy East Coast sound of rapping about selling cocaine over hard-hitting instrumentals back to listeners’ ears.

“He’s fam,” Wicked Money Family co-founder Iren “IG” Golder told rolling out. “East Coast represent. Bringing New York back, from the music to the production.”

During BET Hip-Hop Awards weekend in Atlanta, The Butcher spoke to rolling out about what hip-hop means to him, and what’s coming up next.

ATL Jacob is making his debut as an artist and his label has been signed under Republic Records. What is your message to ATL Jacob?

I want to say man he’s a hustler. He goes crazy. He and all his boys go crazy. That’s why I f— with them n—–. And as an artist, I’d be in the studio and that n—- playing s—, nasty s—. As good as anybody else I’ve heard, so I’m excited for him to do his thing.

What does hip-hop mean to Benny The Butcher?

Hip-hop means everything to Benny The Butcher. Hip-Hop is the reason why I’m here. You see I’m nominated for Collab of the Year. You see I’m nominated for Lyricist of the Year. It means everything. I’m going to be there on the red carpet tomorrow with my s— on like this.

What’s next for you?

Working with ATL Jacob, working with Symba. Just f— with everybody, getting game from the OGs, everybody. [Golder] is a hustler.

The post What hip-hop means to Benny The Butcher appeared first on Rolling Out.

The post What Hip-Hop Means to Benny The Butcher first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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