Henry Arthur Callis Academy Proposal
The mission of the Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501c(3) organization, is service to mankind, the promotion of scholarship, and the enhancement of knowledge and achievement of males of all ages. In keeping with this mission the Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc. established the Henry Arthur Callis (HAC) Academy in 2013 (website). Through a series of structured activities and experiences, HAC Academy participants are exposed to critical information and engage in valuable interactions focused on preparing them for the rigors of the first year of college. Currently, HAC Academy participants are college-aspiring*, African American young men in their junior and senior year in high school. Over a three-year period, younger cohorts of African American male youth (9th & 10th graders) will engage in HAC Academy activities aligned to their developmental, social, and academic needs.
After considerable in-kind contributions from the Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc. and the Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., costs associated with the HAC Academy activities exceed current resources. Currently, Academy participants and their families are responsible for partially paying these costs through payments and/or fundraising activities. The Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc. seeks financial contributions from businesses, corporations, foundations, and individuals to offset costs.
National trends in African American male college attendance and completion paint a very clear picture: African American male youth need well-designed, focused supports in their efforts to complete high school, enter college, thrive once enrolled, and finish degree requirements. National data indicate that:
- Only 47% of African American male students graduated on time from U.S. high schools in 2008, compared to 78% of White male students (Schott Foundation for Public Education, 2010).
- In 2002, African American men comprised only 4.3% of students enrolled at institutions of higher education, the exact same percentage as in 1976 (Harper, 2006; Strayhorn, 2010).
- African American male students are often comparatively less prepared than are others for the rigors of college level academic work (Bonner & Bailey, 2006; Loury, 2004; Lundy- Wagner & Gasman, 2011; Palmer, Davis, & Hilton, 2009).
- African American male college completion rates are lowest among both sexes and all racial/ethnic groups in U.S. higher education (Harper, 2006; Strayhorn, 2010).
* college-aspiring – A college-aspiring student is one who is performing academically on grade level, on schedule to graduate from high school, and more than likely to earn acceptance into an institution of higher education based on their academic performance in high school.
Projects and programs focused on disrupting current trends of African American male high school completion, college enrollment, and college completion have tough choices to make. When committed to contributing to a solution to this complex set of problems, many questions emerge, such as:
- In that we can’t do it all, what should be our focus?
- Should we prepare middle school African American boys for the academic and social challenges of high school?
- Should we support struggling African American high school male youth in their efforts to graduate?
- Should we prepare college-aspiring African American male youth for the challenges they will encounter when faced with identifying and entering college?
- Should we support and mentor African American males as they navigate their undergraduate experience through college graduation?
Most organizations concerned with these issues would like to execute programs that simultaneously respond to all of these needs, yet few have the capacity and resources to do so. In our efforts to respond to these pressing issues, yet do so responsibly, the Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc. is proposing a five-year strategic plan that, if executed, will create opportunities to positively impact rates of success of local African American male youth along their trajectory from positive academic and social experiences in middle and high school, high school graduation, college entrance, and college completion.
Henry Arthur Callis (HAC) Academy
The central mechanism we propose to respond to the needs of local African American male youth in their efforts to thrive socially and academically from middle school through college completion is the Henry Arthur Callis (HAC) Academy. Named in honor of one of the founding members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Henry Arthur Callis Academy will focus on addressing a set of very complex problems that have historically resulted in discontinuities and disruptions in African American male youths’ progression from middle school student to college graduate.
HAC Academy Mission & Goals
The mission of the HAC Academy is:
To provide African American males between the ages of 12 and 18 opportunities to engage in research-based activities, interactions, and social experiences that support their progress toward high school graduation and success in college.
For Academy participants in their junior and senior year in high school, measureable goals include:
- Increased awareness and understanding of the college selection and application process
- Increased understanding of the importance of submitting well-crafted, high-quality college applications
- Submission of a minimum of three college applications (reviewed by Academy staff)
- Increased understanding of the college financing and financial aid process
- Increased confidence and capability to speaking in public
- Increased sophistication in presenting oneself and interacting in professional situations
- Increased awareness of the range of college majors and associated professions
- Increased awareness and understanding of the importance of maintaining physical and mental health in college
- Increased awareness of financial literacy and responsibility
Over the next three years, the HAC Academy will design activities and facilitate experiences for three levels of academy participants: HAC Academy Students (9th grade – 11th grade students), HAC Academy Scholars (college-aspiring high school seniors), and HAC Academy Alumni (college students who experienced and completed the HAC Academy). During the first year of the HAC Academy (2013-14), activities and experiences focused on HAC Academy Scholars - local, college-aspiring African American male youth in their senior year in high school. Each year during the evolution of the HAC Academy, the needs of the other two levels, HAC Academy Students and HAC Academy Alumni, will be designed and facilitated, resulting in a comprehensive approach to supporting local African American male youths’ progression from entering high school to completion of the first year in college. Table 1 describes the timeline of the HAC Academy development and evolution.
Table 1. Mu Lambda Foundation Henry Arthur Callis Academy Timeline
The Origins of the Mu Lambda Foundation HAC Academy: The Mu Lambda Foundation Beautillion Program
Since its inception in 1991, the Mu Lambda Foundation Beautillion Program has provided weekend workshops, social experiences, mentoring, and scholarships to the more than 190 young men who have participated. The Beautillion Program was conceived as a “rites of passage” experience where young men learn critical information as they move from adolescence to manhood. The culminating event for the Beautillion Program, the Beautillion Gala, has grown tremendously over the years and serves as a premier Washington D.C. yearly event involving over 450 community members, parents, and fraternity brothers.
After close to 20 years of successfully staging and facilitating the Beautillion Program and Gala, the Mu Lambda Foundation, Inc. will take lessons learned from this experience through the establishment of the Henry Arthur Callis Academy.
2014-15 HAC Academy Courses and Activities
Over a five-month period (mid November to late March), Academy participants engage in courses and structured activities that aim to increase their capacity to be more successful during their first year in college. Academy courses and activities are designed to improve Academy participants’ organization and study skills, critical thinking and problem solving ability, presentation and pubic speaking skills, and capacity to manage college life. HAC Academy components include: 1) 10 College Readiness Courses 2) Job Shadowing & Career Development Activities, 3) Mentoring, & 4) College Visits. Furthermore, there is a focus and emphasis on critical thinking, decision-making, and communication (both written and verbal) throughout all components of the HAC Academy.
College Readiness Courses
HAC Academy participants complete ten courses focused on research-based information and strategies that will support HAC Academy high school participants in their transition to college life. The ten courses are:
Course 1: Organization and Study Skills
Academy participants will engage in activities that examine and improve their organization and study skills. Academy participants will be exposed to what organization and study skills will be demanded of them in college and develop a Personal Organization and Study Skills Improvement Plan that will support their efforts to successfully complete their freshman year (and beyond).
Course 2: Selecting, Applying to, and Financing College
Academy participants will gain a deeper understanding of college financing and how to make good choices in regard to financial decisions. Academy participants will examine the financial commitments associated with their top three college choices and prepare a College Financing Plan that describes financial resources they will draw on to manage college costs.
Course 3: Presentation and Public Speaking
Academy participants will sharpen their presentation and public speaking skills through exercises, practices, and performances. Each Scholar will be required to present a short public presentation to the members of the Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. A subset of presentations will also be presented at the annual scholarship gala.
Course 4: Finding Your Focus - The College Major
Academy participants’ personal interests and goals will be examined and discussed for the purposes of choosing the best major. The college major will be examined from multiple perspectives including personal interest, forecasts of college majors that will be 'in demand' in 5 years, and majors that will best prepare Academy participants for professional or graduate schools (medical school, law school, dental school, other graduate programs). Discussions will highlight the contemporary and future value of majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Course 5: Managing Your Profile
Academy participants will discuss and develop strategies and tools to productively respond to racial profiling and stereotyping on their college campus and campus community. As a group, Academy participants will develop a Responding to Profiling document that they will submit for dissemination to organizations and institutions serving young African American males.
Course 6: Health & Nutrition
Academy participants will engage in activities and exercises focused on caring for their minds and bodies through proper eating, exercise, and stress management.
Course 7: Critical Thinking &Problem Solving
Academy participants will engage in activities and exercises focused on increasing their capacity to solve problems through identification of relevant information and structuring of viable, logical solutions or arguments. Each Scholar will identify a contemporary social problem affecting their community or neighborhood and prepare a research and evidence-based 'solution'.
Course 8: Financial Literacy
Academy participants will engage in activities and exercises focused on increasing their understanding of money management and financial decision-making.
Course 9: Professional Dress & Grooming
Academy participants will engage in opportunities to examine, discuss, and practice approaches to dressing for professional and social settings. Grooming (haircuts, facial hair, nail care, etc.) will also be discussed.
Course 10: Etiquette and Social Skills in Professional Settings
Academy participants will learn important skills related to etiquette in professional and social settings (i.e. proper dining etiquette) and important considerations when interacting with adults and peers.
Job Shadowing & Career Awareness Activities
Each HAC Scholar will pair with a member of the Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and shadow them at their place of employment for a full day. Academy participants and professionals will be paired based on Academy participants’ interests and professional aspirations.
Each Scholar will select or be assigned a mentor for the purposes of connecting to and learning from a professional adult male during their transition from high school to college.
HAC Academy participants will visit area colleges and meet with African American male college students to share experiences. Sites include the University of Maryland and Howard University.
HAC Graduation Ceremony and Gala
In late March, HAC Academy participants will be celebrated in a HAC Academy Graduation Ceremony. HAC Academy participants will also be acknowledged at the annual Black & Gold Gala in April.
African American college-aspiring senior males attending District of Columbia Public Schools will be the focused recruitment group, however it is possible that HAC Academy participants in schools in other area districts will enroll. Counselors from all DCPS high schools will be notified of this opportunity and asked to identify potential HAC Academy participants.
Location & Schedule
The majority of courses and activities will be held on Sundays from 2 – 5 p.m. at the Mu Lambda Community House, 2405 First St., NW, Washington, DC 20
The evaluation of the HAC Academy will consist of the following activities:
- Pre and post assessments of Academy participants’ knowledge and awareness of content of core courses
- Surveys of Academy participants’ perceptions of impact of HAC Academy activities on current and future decision making
- Surveys of parents of Academy participants’ perceptions of impact of HAC Academy activities on Academy participants’ current and future decision making
As Academy participants enter and matriculate through college, information will be tracked and gathered related to Academy participants’:
- College choice
- College major
- Perceptions of the impact on the HAC Academy on decision made in college
- Grade point average
- Time to graduation
- Initial career choice
Over time, data analysis will be conducted to determine if HAC Academy participants exhibit success and resilience in college in comparison to their peers. A subset of 2013 – 14 Academy evaluation data can be found in Appendix A.
A projected budget can be found in Appendix B.
The Henry Arthur Callis Academy programmatic activities will be led and overseen by the HAC Academy Dean, Dr. Lawrence Clark. Dr. Clark is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Maryland in College Park.
The Assistant HAC Academy Dean is Dr. Art Fields. Dr. Fields is Senior Director of Related Services in the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Bonner II, F. A., & Bailey, K. W. (2006). Enhancing the academic climate for African American men. In M. J. Cuyjet (Ed.), African American men in college (pp. 24-46). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Harper, S. R. (2006). Black male students at public universities in the U.S.: Status, trends and implications for policy and practice. Washington, DC: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Loury, L. D. (2004). Siblings and gender differences in African-American college attendance. Economics of Education Review, 23(3), 213-219.
Lundy-Wagner, V., & Gasman, M. (2011). When gender issues are not just about women: Reconsidering male students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Teachers College Record, 113(5), 934-968.
Palmer, R. T., Davis, R. J., & Hilton, A. A. (2009). Exploring challenges that threaten to impede the academic success of academically underprepared African American male collegians at an HBCU. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 429-445.
Schott Foundation for Public Education (2010). Yes we can: The Schott 50 state report on public education and Black males. Cambridge, MA: Author.