Schott Foundation awards three high schools for achievement of African-American males

Three high schools will be honored for the high achievement of their African-American male students by The Schott Foundation for Public Education.

Dr. Rosa A. Smith, President and CEO of The Schott Foundation for Public Education announced that Brush High School in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst school district, near Cleveland, Ohio; the Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City, and Elmont Memorial High School in the Sewanhaka school district, Nassau County, Long Island have been selected for the honor.

The Schott Awards for Excellence in the Education of African-American Male Students recognize high schools that support academic excellence and are closing achievement gaps in graduation rates. In addition to that recognition, each school will receive funding for a scholarship from The Schott Foundation to be used for post secondary education of an outstanding male African-American graduating senior.

Research shows that African-American boys are disproportionately and inappropriately assigned to special education classes, expelled and suspended from school, and under-represented in college preparatory classes.

Nationally, between one-half and two-thirds of African-American male students drop out of school, and many of those who do graduate are not prepared for college or further educational training.

“This is an enormous tragedy for young African-American men, their families and communities,” Smith said. “It results in life-long diminished earnings, extraordinary rates of incarceration and an unnecessary burden to society.”

Last year, three Ohio schools were the first in the country to receive these awards as a pilot project conducted at the invitation of Dr. Susan Tave Zelman, superintendent of public instruction at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The Schott Foundation’s goal is to gradually expand the program to cover the entire country, Smith said. This year’s program added the Northeast region to Ohio.

All three of this year’s winners have graduated nearly all their male Black students, the foundation said, and nearly all are going on to college.

The foundation, based in Cambridge, Mass., conceived of the awards as part of its work to reverse national patterns showing that young Black men graduate on time less often, are expelled or suspended more often, and referred for special education placements more often than their non-Black or female peers.

The Schott Foundation will give $10,000 to each of the three high schools, to be used as a freshman-year college scholarship for a graduating Black male student.

“We want people everywhere to know what’s possible,” Rosa A. Smith, The Schott Foundation’s president, said in an interview. “These awards demonstrate that regular schools working hard and caring deeply for their students can make it happen.”

The Schott Foundation analyzed graduation, achievement, enrollment, and socio-economic data for the high schools. They looked for schools where, among other results, large proportions of Black males graduated at greater rates than the national average and scored at the “proficient” level in reading and mathematics on state tests. Three finalists were selected, and Schott officials made school visits and interviewed students, teachers, and administrators.

Frederick Douglass Academy and Elmont Memorial High School are public high schools where the majority of students are Black, non-Hispanics and the graduation rates for their male Black students are higher than the national average for non-Hispanic White male students. Brush High School, one of last year’s Ohio pilot program awardees, is typical of a large group of schools around the country that achieve good results for Black boys in schools where non-Hispanic Black students are a minority.

The Schott Foundation’s “Lessons Learned”
  • African-American male students can receive excellent educations and graduate college-ready in inner-city high poverty schools, in working class schools and in suburban schools.
  • Common features of these high achieving schools include:
    • A challenging, broad, college preparation curriculum;

School-based recruitment of teachers devoted to teaching;

    • Strong after-school, weekend and summer programs, including a wide range of clubs and sports;
    • Data-driven decision-making focused on excellence for each individual student.
  • These qualities can be brought up to scale in large districts and state-wide.

“These schools have shown the way,” said Dr. Smith. “We are sure that other schools across the country will be following their path to high achievement for all students.”



  • Dr. Rosa A. Smith, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education (617) 876-7700
  • Dr. Michael Holzman, Lead Researcher and Consultant, Schott Foundation (914) 923-5031
  • Dr. Gregory Hodge, Principal, The Frederick Douglass Academy (212) 491-4107
  • John Capozzi, Principal, Elmont Memorial High School (516) 488-9200
  • Dr. William Zelei, Superintendent, South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools, (Brush High School) (216) 691-2000


About The Schott Foundation for Public Education

Vision Statement:

The Schott Foundation for Public Education’s vision is that all children — especially children that school systems have historically failed, such as poor children and children of color — graduate from excellent and well-resourced public schools capable of college success and full participation in a democratic society.

Mission statement:

The Schott Foundation’s mission is to develop and strengthen a broad-based and representative movement to achieve fully funded quality preK-12 public education. Specifically, The Schott Foundation seeks:

  • Fully funded quality public schools for all children regardless of their residence
  • Universal and accessible, high quality and culturally appropriate early care and education
  • Representative public policy leadership, with a focus on cultivating more women and people of color to become decision-makers
  • Black boys as the litmus test for schools educating all children well

Examples of publications by the The Schott Foundation include:

  • Public Education and Black Male Students: The 2006 State Report Card June 2006 by Michael Holzman, PhD.
  • Making It Work for Early Education and Out of School Time Professionals; January 2006.
  • The Schott Foundation For Public Education and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay
  • Ensuring High Quality Early Education for all Children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; June 2005.  A report of the 2005 Schott Fellows in Early Care and Education
  • Black Boys: The Litmus Test for Public School Education
    The Schott Foundation for Public Education 2004.
  • Achieving Gender Equity in Public Education October 2003. A Schott Foundation Report.