As industries and the work force continue to evolve, requiring new fields of study and expertise, so goes the evolution of what constitutes college and career readiness in preparing students for tomorrow’s jobs.
Jamila Thomas of Dallas Independent School District’s African American Success Initiative (AASI) will join such a conversation when she visits the White House this month on behalf of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and the Office of Science Technology and Policy. In the nation’s capital, Thomas will join others from around the country to participate in a discussion about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and entrepreneurship. The discussion will seek to establish solutions for “how to best serve and engage disconnected youth through national, regional and local programs promoting advancement opportunities,” according to information from the MKB Initiative.
Thomas, a Lincoln High School graduate who recently returned to Dallas ISD as the coordinator for the AASI, says the opportunity gives Dallas ISD a voice and a listening ear at a table that will impact the lives of youth who need as many resources as possible.
“My presence will provide an additional platform to, not only share the work of the AASI within Dallas ISD, but open up doors for collaborative partnerships while providing access to opportunities for students to grow academically, socially and emotionally,” Thomas said. “The goal is to close the achievement gap for students.”
AASI aims to increase access to opportunities for African American students by exposing them to various types of colleges and universities by engaging students in conversations about their goals and futures.
“AASI focuses on educating and inspiring all students in the David W. Carter and Wilmer-Hutchins feeder patterns to further their education in and outside the classroom,” Thomas said. “Equally important, the focus is to encourage high academic achievement and provide a glimpse of the possibilities after achieving a higher education degree.”
In addition to initiating conversations about college and career readiness, AASI focuses on academic achievement, social and emotional development, cultural diversity, community partnerships, parent and family engagement and student advocacy for African American students.
“I want to leverage all possible opportunities to maximize resources and partnerships for students,” Thomas said. “Participation in this discussion will provide me additional perspectives, new insights and the possibility to leverage resources provided by MBK, as well as other organizations participating in the discussion. At the forefront of my mind is the opportunity to bring back as many resources as I can to impact the lives of Dallas ISD students in fundamental and tangible ways.”
For more information on the African American Success Initiative, contact African American Success Initiative Coordinator Jamila Thomas at 972-925-8820.