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June 21, 2011 > African American students will excel

African American students will excel

Submitted By Dr. Jennifer Ong

The resounding message from attendees eager to collaborate with Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) to create access to quality education for African American students was "Enough Is Enough!"

"We have shared goals with a variety of methods and so we must continue the spirit of cooperation," Palma Ceia Baptist Church's Pastor Tommy E. Smith Jr. reminded everyone.

On May 31, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. parents, activists and concerned citizens of Hayward assembled at Palma Ceia Baptist Church, Ruus Road, Hayward. Two awe-inspiring students read poems. Dire statistics for HUSD indicate low achievement and are a predictor of a greater likelihood of a life of crime. Dedicated parents recounted stories of tireless persistence in their quest to claim their children's right to access to a quality education.

"We're hopeful and encouraged tonight by the School Board members' commitment to making the achievement of African American students in HUSD a priority and that they're committed to working with us to ensure this happens," stated organizer, Ms. La Shon Smith.

School Board members and various representatives from the school district joined in support of a concrete action plan proposed by Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR), a faith-based federation of 11 congregations and 25,000 families in southern Alameda County. Questions from the organizers held policy-makers accountable to clear steps of sustained change to achieve the success the community is ready to earn together.

Accountability is key to the spirit of cooperation. Just as elected and appointed leaders are accountable, community stakeholders are equally accountable. The meeting was the proverbial village, ready and eager for higher standards, greater potential and success for its children. The community consists of engaged parents and spectacularly gifted students, together with Hayward teachers, administrators and support staff.

It is the intent of all involved in this movement that African American students, all students, overlooked by a school system that is meant to realize every child's full potential to become a productive member of society through quality education, will excel in Hayward. The proverbial village within the African American community and beyond will remain committed to these shared goals.

For information about future community meetings, contact Dr. Jennifer Ong at or call (510) 521-0551.

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