We know that Black girls in American schools have a different experience than other American girls. It’s largely based on their skin color and zip code.
Studies show that Black girls are being displaced out of schools too at larger numbers than their counterparts. Although not in large numbers as Black boys, our Black girls are silently being erased from schools. Suspensions and drop out rates for Black girls needs to go down to start to change this.
Black girls are often overlooked and left behind because teachers assume that they are going to be okay. We make the assumption that because studies have said that girls perform better academically than boys, we shouldn’t be worried about Black girls.
Recently, I overheard a conversation about Black girls. One of the teachers stated that Black girls who are achieving academically and socially are considered #blackgirlmagic. After this comment, one of the Black female students responded by saying, “so that means the rest of us are just #Thotiana?” The other students and teachers laughed and said “basically.”
This conversation showed me that stereotypes on Black girls are just as damaging. Moreover, it has shown me the urgency in Black male educators advocating for Black girls. Just because we have a larger number of women in the field of education, doesn’t mean that male teachers can’t advocate for girls too.
As the Board Chair for Ivy Prep in Atlanta, our Ivy girls have proven that Black girls need a safe haven. I’ve learned the need for advocacy for Black girls through the leadership of Dr. Charcia Nichols, Head of Schools at Ivy. Her passion for educating the whole girl is what’s turning the school progress around.
Ivy now only serves girls in Metro Atlanta at our Kirkwood Campus. Our work as a Board has helped to empower Dr. Nichols to do what’s needed to educate the whole girl. The turnaround work we’ve invested in happening now so that in the years to come Ivy can expand it’s reach.
“We must grow,” says the Head of Schools. Ivy gets so many Black girls who are coming from schools that have stereotyped them, overlooked and demeaned them. It’s hard to say no and to have a waiting list, says Nichols. At Ivy we are doing something different, we are teaching girls in a way that best fits their needs; acadecially, socially, emotionally, mentally, physically and even financially (for our young entrepreneurs).
“Black girls need to be active and engaged in classrooms too, just like boys”, says Dr. Nichols.
Ivy’s secret sauce is simply educating the whole girl and encompassing scholarship. service and sisterhood. Each day our team at Ivy gives our best so that our Ivy girls can exceed expectations.
This is why Black girls in traditional public schools need to have a choice! Ivy is here as a beacon of hope for all girls who want to learn in a different way. Many Black parents who have girls that have been bullied by students and teachers because of how they look or talk want a different option to learn.
We must advocate for the all Black girls to have a choice in where and how they learn. Especially the Black girls who feel like they’ve been given up on in schools and who aren’t showing up in classrooms or on graduation lists.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.