SB Schools create new position to help African American students - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

SB Schools create new position to help African American students

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The South Bend Community School Corporation is reaching out to African American parents and students. They're doing this with a new position, one that could cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Carole Schmidt says it will be difficult to fill. "It's sort of developing a path that's not there yet so they're going to have to have energy for the work."

The new position is director for African American Student/Parent Services. A job the school board approved Monday, with a budget of no more than $200,000 for staff and supplies. The one vote against the new position came from Councilman Bill Sniadecki who says, "We need to focus that $200,000 inside the classroom."

Dr. Schmidt says not everyone will agree, but she believes it's money well spent. "The data became more and more obvious to us that over the last 10-15 years, we've had this huge achievement gap between our African American students and all our other students."

Dr. Schmidt says the money will come from the district's general fund. "Right now we have a lot of positions that are vacant and a number of those positions will not need to be filled, we anticipate, if we lose enrollment at the rate we've been continuously losing it."

Cory Gathright is the co-chair of the Leader's Coalition, the organization that pushed the school board to create the new position. "To have an advocate to be able to understand the African American community will allow us to make much greater progress with the overall education of African American children."

And he says it's a cause that's worth the price. "This is an investment that will pay off."

Board member, Dawn Jones voted in support of this position and says, "This would be a big benefit to the entire school corporation. It will offer insight to teacher's and parents and lead to better communication."

Dr. Schmidt says the job is posted now and will be filled this school year. Read the complete description of the new position by clicking here.

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