4As talk education
Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 1:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 1:11 p.m.
Getting more of its members to support a mentoring program and hosting an event to help east Gainesville students prepare for college were issues discussed at a community summit hosted by the education committee of the African American Accountability Alliance of Alachua County, or 4As.
Held Monday night at the Alachua County Health Department, Juliun Kinsey, chairman of the 4As education committee, began his presentation by talking about the need to have more members of the 4As get involved with Take Stock in Children, a non-profit organization in Florida with a program in Alachua County that provides middle and high school students with mentors who help them gain academic success.
He highlighted the efforts of 4As member Cecil Howard, director of the city of Gainesville Office of Equal Opportunity, who has been involved with Take Stock for several years as a mentor to Eastside High School senior Michael Linton.
"Cecil is one of a very few members of the 4As who is involved with Take Stock in Children," Kinsey said. "What we would like to see is more 4As members becoming involved with Take Stock in Children, including myself."
Kinsey then explained what Take Stock is all about, saying the program takes students referred by school counselors and matches them with mentors. He said the students must maintain good behavior and grades and are rewarded with scholarships to attend college once they graduate from high school.
Kinsey said the summit was held to continue devising a community-wide education action plan that began as a result of a meeting the 4As hosted earlier this year in response to "The Eastside High School Movie," a controversial video filmed by a former Eastside student that features mostly African-American students using profanity, dancing provocatively, disrespecting teachers, expressing their dislike for the cafeteria food, fighting, and other actions, while also featuring some students who acted and talked sensibly.
Kinsey said the theme of that meeting was, "It takes a village to raise a child." He said the action plan being developed centers around the notion that the entire community must play a role in the educational process of children.
During his presentation, Kinsey focused on 4As initiatives that deal with mentoring, college readiness and connecting students and families with resources that can help them academically and socially.
To help students get ready for college, Kinsey announced that the 4As should organize and host an "East Gainesville College Goal Sunday" early in 2014, similar to ones held last year at Santa Fe College and Eastside High School. The goal of the event will be to assist aspiring college students with completing financial aid paperwork, college applications and other things involved with the college admissions process.
Dr. Leanetta McNealy, an Alachua County School Board member, said she will propose that the School Board help to co-sponsor the event once the 4As have all of the details worked out.
"I will need details of the logistics of the event and all other pertinent information before I can take this before the board," said McNealy, who attended the meeting with several other members of the 4As and concerned residents.