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African American/Black Student Success Grantees

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Airway Science logoAirway Science for Kids, Inc.
Airway Science for Kids (ASK) has provided engagement and opportunity outreach to the underserved populations of the Portland area since 1992. ASK’s diverse board is committed to serving the community as a connection to information, opportunities, and resources necessary to navigate this COVID-impacted, socially and economically challenging world in which we live. ASK has always intentionally infused our aviation and aerospace education with culturally responsive history, education, and career information. The effects of adapting to change, isolation, uncertainty and unprecedented physical, emotional, and environmental challenges are inherent in pushing the boundaries of air and space. With this perspective, our programs intentionally integrate considerations essential to student and family wellbeing.
We have developed six project-based educational modules in STEM fields that are presented (in age-appropriate formats) onsite, online and at our partner locations. These modules explore: flight, the solar system, airplane design, space travel, drones, and robotics. Each module integrates professional skills development, physical and social-emotional health, career exploration and interviews with diverse people in the field through standards-based facilitation and engineering design process activities. Distance learning has widened the education gap. As a partner in NASA’s Museum and Education Alliance, we have complete access and free use of all NASA’s extensive, thoroughly vetted, NGSS-aligned resources.

Our two physical locations are at 3710 N Mississippi Ave, Portland and at the Hillsboro Airport. Our Portland Building houses our educational programs, and our resources include a suite of flight simulators, a Kerbal Space Program Lab, Drone building lab & obstacle course, Maker Space with 3-D printers (we print the pieces for the drones we make), lending library of books, and livestream/podcast space. At our Hillsboro building we have flight simulators, a learning space and a hangar where the students build an actual airplane.

Contact: Julia Cannell

AYCO logoAfrican Youth and Community Organization (AYCO)
Founded in 2009 by Jamal Dar based on his resettlement experience, AYCO is a culturally specific organization led by and for East African immigrants and refugees. AYCO's mission is "to settle the past, engage the present, and hope for the future." AYCO strives to strengthen a sense of cultural identity within the Pan-African Diaspora's immigrant communities, supported by inclusive educational and economic opportunities while enhancing integration and hope for the future.

Our constituents have survived war, displacement, and unbelievable hardship, including a decade or more living in refugee camps. While their survival has required extraordinary resilience and the capacity to face many challenges, navigating unfamiliar American culture and resources meant to ease their transition is difficult. Our programs include youth leadership and support services, adult and youth education assistance, community building, healthcare referral and navigation, disability services, etc. We are eager to bring visibility to the strengths of these resilient communities while also attending to their challenges.

Contact: Jamal Dar, Executive Director, (971) 254-8916

BPI logoBlack Parent Initiative (BPI)
Black Parent Initiative’s mission is “to educate and mobilize the parents and caregivers of African American, African, Black, and African American Multiracial children to ensure they achieve success.” Everyone we serve identifies as African American, African, Black, and/or African American Multiracial. Our relationship-based and culturally specific approaches focus on optimal health, cultural identity development, parent education, and ensuring that parents and caregivers have the necessary resources to support student success. BPI recognizes that parent empowerment is a fundamental ingredient for stable, thriving Black families. We help parents and caregivers gain access to health care, obtain stable housing and provide guidance and skill-building so they can support their children in a variety of ways. Our comprehensive and connected services include:

  • Sacred Roots Mobile Doula and Lactation Services - Matches African American, African, Black, and African American Multiracial pregnant women with culturally representative doulas, who work with each mother to maximize positive birth outcomes and increase breastfeeding success.
  • Together We Can Home Visiting - Provides young parents from low-income communities with intensive, culturally specific home visiting services, group-based support, education, and early childhood development assessment and skill-building.
  • School-Based Programming - Improves relationships between families and schools and educators through culturally specific family engagement and advocacy training. We also provide literacy training and positive cultural identity development programming.
  • Black Family Resource Center – Provides educational resources and advocacy support. Through the Black Family Resource Center, we host culturally specific community events (family fun days, clothing drives, etc.) and offer resources such as culturally specific books, clothing and diapers.
  • Community Health Team - Oversees BPI’s COVID-19 response and provides health-related wraparound services for clients, including access to healthcare and wellness services.

CAIRO logo Center for African Immigrants and Refugees Organization (CAIRO)
The Center for African Immigrants & Refugees Organization (CAIRO) is a statewide, grassroots nonprofit organization that engages, educates and empowers the over 40,000 diverse African immigrants and refugees (AIR) in Oregon, with a view to inspire hope so these communities may rise above the circumstances that too often marginalize them. CAIRO’s Mission is to enhance social justice and achieve parity for the African immigrant and refugee communities through organizing, collaborative leadership, and advocacy. CAIRO envisions a more just and equitable society where all can thrive. CAIRO was founded in 2014 in response to the widening academic achievement gaps for the African school-aged children in Oregon. It was formally incorporated in the beginning of 2016. Implemented by CAIRO, the overall objective of the SPACE program is to inform, empower and facilitate teacher, parent and student engagement. We accomplish this through training and workshops for parents and teachers while offering academic and social support to students and their families – all delivered through culturally and linguistically informed approaches. We work in Reynolds School district to provide, student support and mentoring (tailored to the needs of children, families and schools), as well as Community Based Support and Parent Engagement.

Contact: Maxwell Olwa, Program Manager

COBM logo Coalition of Black Men (COBM)

Regarding our “Dream Bigger” mentoring initiative, our staff work in three under-served schools with plans to expand to a fourth school in fiscal year 2023. The program targets Black middle school male students and others. Culturally responsive staff guides them through education, career, and lifestyle visioning exercises developed to prepare them for high school and beyond. Scheduled field trips to civic/educational events and/or businesses further expose students to the Black community. Invited guest speakers from the COBM's general membership and the larger Black community, occupying a wide variety of academic disciplines and career fields, deepen the engagement. Challenges include addressing the distrust that the majority of Black families harbor for public school systems. We are directly confronting that barrier by adding out-of-school mentoring and family engagements. Building stronger connections outside of the school building helps to build youth and family support for in-school programming.

Beyond in-school mentoring, we have formed an alliance with Portland State University through its Department of Black Studies. Through this relationship, professional and community development include having prominent Black guest speakers host talks with the mentoring program’s stakeholders three times per year; participants will include program students, parents, educators, mentors, COBM members, and the Black community as well as others. Also, the COBM seeks to have Black men present during each of Portland Public School (PPS) board’s bi-weekly public meetings. Members are encouraged to testify for and support practices and policies that help Black youth as well as nurture its good, working relationships with PPS board members. Further, currently serve on select PPS panels to provide community voice and support district-wide equity efforts.

Contact: Mims Rouse, Executive Director, (503) 919-6804

IRCO logo Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization(IRCO)
IRCO’s Black African Immigrant and Refugee Student Success (BASS) project is a collaboration between IRCO’s Africa House, 6 K-12 school districts and 2 community colleges with the goal to increase opportunities and academic indicators across the K-post secondary continuum. The BASS program will provide culturally specific relationship based academic advocacy/case management, out-of-school time group activities that support academic, enrichment and social and emotional wellbeing, and family engagement to youth and parents/caregivers attending schools in David Douglas, Ontario, Parkrose, Portland Public Schools, Reynolds, and Salem-Keizer School Districts, and Portland (PCC) and Treasure Valley Community Colleges (TVCC).

Programming will focus on key priorities as outlined by ODE such as: math and literacy skill building, key transitions, as well as attendance, discipline and improving school climate and culturally responsive pedagogy. Additionally, IRCO’s BASS program will offer programming to support college transitions and first year retention, credit attainment and culturally specific supports for students transitioning to community college.

Contact: Gudeta Wok-Woya, (503) 997-0258
Rebecca Lomboto, (503) 539-6610

Lane ESD logoLane Education Service District
The Lane African American-Black Student Success Program is happy to be of service to all African American and Black students in Lane County from early childhood through post-secondary education. Our primary goals are to increase access to high quality, community-based early learning programs; increase the number of culturally linguistically responsive educational learning and certification pathways for early learning providers; increase academic outcomes for African American/Black/African Diaspora students in math and English; increase attendance and decrease absenteeism; reduce the number of discipline incidences; increase number of freshman on-track to graduate and to increase the number of post-secondary enrollment rate for African American/Black diaspora students in Lane County.

The Lane AABSS looks forward to continuous collaborative partnerships with our CBOs, school districts and other community partners. This year we strive to build even more partnerships with our ally groups in an effort to increase the overall student success of Black students in all of our 16 districts. Our commitment to student success is through a collective governance approach and we will continue to implement and execute the objectives outline in HB2016.

Multnomah ESD logo Multnomah Education Service District
Bars to Bridges (B2B), a Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) program, provides positive culturally responsive educational transitions and career support to justice-involved youth and youth who have experienced incarceration or detention in counties across Oregon. Founded in 2016, B2B’s core focus is supporting youth that identify as African American, Black, Bi-racial and/or Multi-racial and their family members. B2B’s goals center on (1) reducing justice recidivism, (2) interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, (3) increasing school attendance and (4) increasing academic achievement through culturally responsive and trauma informed practices and relationships. We actively (re)connect youth with educational programming, and advocate for equitable educational and cultural experiences through outreach and culturally relevant interagency practices.

The B2B model centers on developing relationships with the community and utilizing culturally responsive Transition Specialists (TS), who provide individualized support from the point of entry in the juvenile justice system to educational attainment. The TS (re)connects students with their education and community no matter where they live in Oregon. They work directly with culturally specific organizations, school districts, administrators, and counselors to navigate the successful student re-entry into school. In addition to eliminating barriers to enrollment and access, TS’s are responsible for all aspects of the wraparound support model and obtain community support services, mentoring, tutoring, and transportation. This continuity of support by one TS allows for positive and trust-based relationships to develop between the TS, the student, the student’s family and other involved adults. B2B also has regional relationships with juvenile justice system professionals, including culturally specific community resources, and education and training providers to make a tangible difference in the lives of youth and their families. Fostering all of these relationships is the life-blood of the program.

B2B also engages educators and juvenile justice professionals in professional learning to build systems of support, knowledge and skill to dismantle the school to prison pipeline, increase culturally responsive practices, and inspect/update policies that push out youth, finding ways to call in and engage youth using an equity lens.

Contact: Christine Otto, Project Director

OSU logo Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a comprehensive, research-intensive public land-grant university. OSU is one of only two land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant universities with such designation in the country. Oregon State programs and faculty are located in every county of the state and investigate the state's greatest challenges. The state of Oregon is OSU’s campus but our mission is to serve the state, the nation, and the world. The university works in partnership with the P-12 school system, Oregon community colleges, and other colleges and universities to provide access to high-quality educational programs. Strong collaborations with industry and state and federal agencies drive OSU's research enterprise.

The Dr. Lawrence Griggs Office of Black & Indigenous Student Success at Oregon State University builds deep and intentional relationships across the state of Oregon to increase access, academic success, and retention for Black, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Alaskan Native students. We connect students to important resources, culturally relevant housing and programming, academic support, co-curricular opportunities, and career development.

Contact: Dorian Smith, Director, (541) 737-4181

POIC logo Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (POIC)
POIC+RAHS provides the highest quality services in education, mentoring, family outreach, employment training, and placement. POIC+RAHS has been a beacon for communities of color, particularly the Black and African American community, for more than 50 years. POIC+RAHS was originally founded to provide culturally specific workforce training and career placement services to counter discriminatory practices keeping people of color unemployed, underemployed, and unable to access wealth building opportunities. Then, viewing education as a critical component of a community's success, POIC expanded by founding Rosemary Anderson High School (RAHS), an accredited alternative high school, in 1983 and later an accredited middle school in 2018. Overall, with five school campuses now and more than 100 staff, RAHS students are supported with caring educators, culturally specific curricula and safe spaces.

Today, POIC+RAHS provides a continuum of education, career, and family services. From reintroducing houseless teens to the classroom, to pairing gang-affected students with meaningful career opportunities, to helping youth experiencing domestic violence find stability and hope through mentorship - POIC+RAHS helps youth and adults reimagine and rewrite their life stories. Our programs offer college, apprenticeship and trade exposure, credit recovery and soft skills to help develop our students and participants into leaders.

Contact: Adriel Person

Director of Youth Services

REAP’s mission is to proactively ignite, elevate and engage the next wave of leaders for the future now. Using culturally responsive programs, we invest in students and their future – elevating student voice and empowering them to converse with business, community, and political leaders; teaching the importance of health & wellness; developing innovation toward entrepreneurship; engaging students in problem solving for analytical and critical skill building; and empowering global leaders today. REAP’s vision is to be equitable and responsive to the needs of culturally diverse students, families, and communities, and to transform education systems. We work to realize our vision by deploying diverse staff who are stationed in schools, providing a supportive presence and working directly with students on issues including leadership development, discipline equity, academic enrichment, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and youth voice. REAP engages students to develop their leadership potential, and has become a resource to business leaders, educators, elected officials, community advocates and parents. Our model supports students along a continuum from elementary school, through high school graduation, and continuing into post-secondary education and/or career pursuits.

Our core programs include:
  • Solutions: A 10-month student-driven leadership curriculum open to all students and focused on civics, education, health, business and entrepreneurship.
  • Renaissance: A leadership development program designed to respond to the staggering academic and social needs specific to culturally diverse males between the ages of 12-18.
  • Reflections: A program providing proactive, targeted support for youth in grades 4-12, who are identified as having disciplinary issues through a cooperative management and strengths-based lens.
  • Young Entrepreneurs: A career leadership program focused on entrepreneurial education and innovation where students are exposed to career opportunities and interface with business leaders.

Contact: Nate GoldenDirector of Programs
(503) 688-2784

SEI logoSelf Enhancement, Inc.(SEI)
Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) is dedicated to guiding underserved youth to realize their full potential. Working with schools, families, and partner community organizations, SEI provides support, guidance, and opportunities to achieve personal and academic success. SEI brings hope to individual young people and enhances the quality of community life. Our goal at Self Enhancement, Inc. is to cultivate Positive Contributing Citizens who have completed at least two years of post-secondary education or two years of successful workforce experience by age 21.
Our In-School Program begins with students as young as the sixth grade. Each student is matched with an In-School Service Coordinator who provides 24/7 case management tracking the scholastic achievement, attendance, and behavior. SEI provides a continuum of services, paired with our comprehensive approach, we build deep relationships with kids that are based on trust and mutual respect. We cultivate a positive environment, where success is clear and attainable.

Contact: Tamra Hickok
Youth Services Director

SOESD logo Southern Oregon Education Service District (SOESD)
SOBAASS’ goals are to increase academic achievement by closing opportunity gaps, increase attendance rates, increase graduation rates, increase the post-secondary enrollment rate, and address the disproportionate discipline incidents of the African American / Black students who we serve. Our current programs consist of direct services for our students and families, as well as extensive workshop offerings that support school staff to increase their ability to provide culturally appropriate and effective instruction. SOESD works in partnership with six school districts in our region and two Community Based Organizations, BASE and BSOA, to deliver these services. The activities of this multi-district, multi-agency collaboration, called SOBAASS, are:

  • Monthly Parent Group Meetings facilitated by the SOBAASS Family Engagement Specialist
  • Ongoing Afroscoutz activities hosted by BASE
  • Support for Black Student Unions (BSUs) throughout our region
  • The Black Youth Leadership Summit and Black Youth Summer Institute hosted by BOSA
  • Advocacy for students and parents from the SOBAASS Specialist
  • Regional Human Resources work on hiring and retaining African American/Black staff facilitated by the SOBAASS District Specialist

Contact: Charlie Bauer
ELL, Migrant Education, Indian Education Coordinator

Washington Co logo Washington County
Washington County Health and Human Services is working in partnership with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, Center for African Immigrants and Refugees Organization, Beaverton School District & the Hillsboro School District to increase access and services to Black students. The project’s emphasis is on cultural navigator & tutoring support for Black Students in multiple schools across both districts. Additionally, the consortium is working to engage families with young children in publicly funded services such as home visiting, preschool, parenting education and kinder transition activities. Finally, our consortium will be seeking cultural and language enrichment programs to serve students during out of school time. All this work will be underlined by community engagement and deepening our understanding of the needs and desires of Black families in our region.

Contact: Evan Weaver

Senior Program Coordinator