Although designed specifically address the needed of Black children, all are welcome.
By RHONDA CROWDER
Located at12601 Shaker Blvd., inCleveland, at thePhoenixVillageAcademy, The HBCU Preparatory Schools Network is designed to provide children with a nurturing student-centered environment, attentive and genuinely vested teachers, stimulating classroom settings, a strong cultural foundation, a college bound curriculum, and an expectation of excellence and success.
It is also committed to unapologetically educating African American children by emulating the most successful model for educating Blacks – Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Currently, there are 106 HBCUs across the country with thousands of alumni, many living in this area.
“This thing is as big as when HBCU were founded,” said Tim Goler, aNorfolkState graduate and founder of The HBCU Preparatory Schools Network.
The HBCU Preparatory Schools Network incorporates the core educational standards and curriculum in addition to programming geared toward exposing students to every aspect of Black life and culture. For example, The HBCU Preparatory Schools Network will host a HBCU Weekly Showcase, where all classes at every grade level will learn different aspects and key features about a school’s demographics, geographic location, class offerings, and notable alumni.
The showcase will be integrated into the lesson planning and curriculum.
They will also host a monthly HBCU Alumni Assembly, partner with the Black Greek fraternities and sororities to complete community service projects, take field trips to annual community events held by HBCU sponsors and partners, and will extend an invitation to an HBCU president to provide the commencement speech for 8th graders transitioning into high school.
“I’m not interested in scores, I’m interested in the development of the whole child,” said Goler. “A lot of it is going to be exposing our kids and parents to our culture. The goal is to change the mindset and attitude of children. What they see is what they’ll be.”
The hope is to create a direct pipeline to HBCUs. They are not saying the students must graduate and attend an HBCU, but will train, prepare, and develop them to go to college. “They will be prepared and ready for the world.”
Although designed specifically address the needed of Black children, all are welcome. They currently have about 160 students, in grades K-5, with the capacity to take 200. They plan to add a middle school next year, adding one grade at a time. According to Goler, success will be measured based upon how they grow and how the community engage with the school. “This is a platform to talk about educating Black students. We talk about “urban” education like it’s a cloak word. But, we’re not scared to say what we’re trying to do,” he said.
Timothy Roberts Sr., long time student advocate and architect/founder of the successful B.R.I.C.K. Mentoring Program has been hired to serve as head of schools.
“It is important to expose urban youth to possibilities for their future and the importance of dreaming big,” said Roberts. “Many urban youth have never been beyond their own neighborhood – let alone downtownCleveland. My mission is to show them all of the positive role models that exist not only in their hometown, but around the world.MorehouseCollegehas graduated some of the world’s greatest leaders including Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Spike Lee, U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher, and many others. My mission is to let our children know that they too can become the next great leader as long as they set high goals for themselves –the HBCU Preparatory Schools Network will help them do just that.”