Dr. George McKenna, White House education official David Johns, education advocates convene for roundtable discussion on black education

LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2015) - Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Dr. George McKenna hosted on Thursday David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

The pair was joined by more than 30 educators and community leaders, who hope to achieve positive outcomes for African American students in South Los Angeles. The session was held at Audubon Middle School for a site visit and a roundtable discussion on how to ensure academic success for African American students.
During the site visit, Dr. McKenna and Mr. Johns observed a sample module from Audubon’s Magnet Bridge Summer Program, which helps prepare incoming students for the rigorous academics. More than half the enrollment in the prestigious gifted magnet contains African American students, bolstered by partnerships with UCLA, Brotherhood Crusade, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other community organizations.

“It was an honor to welcome David Johns to Audubon Middle School to discuss how Los Angeles approaches African American educational excellence,” Dr. McKenna said. “In LAUSD, Audubon Middle School leads the way with community engagement and innovative programs to serve the needs of our students. This event was a great opportunity to collaborate with the White House and share the academic successes of our African American students and families.”
“Every parent wants their child to receive the best education possible and education is critical to competing in a global economy,” Mr. Johns said. “As a graduate of LAUSD schools, I was glad to participate in a discussion with so many people who are passionately committed to ensuring the success of African American students and narrowing the achieving gaps in our public schools here in Los Angeles and around the country.”

“I am very excited to see that Audubon Middle School and Dr. George McKenna are garnering national attention for the work they do for students of color in our community,” said Congressmember Karen Bass, whose district includes Audubon. “We are lucky to have partners like David Johns in the White House to emphasize the importance of African American education and spread information about best practices. We must continue working across all levels of government and in the community to ensure that each and every child is prepared for success in our schools.”

Dr. McKenna and Mr. Johns were joined by well-known educators and community groups, including: Charisse Bremond-Weaver of the Brotherhood Crusade; Nike Irvin of the California Community Foundation; Aurea Montes-Rodriguez of the Community Coalition;
Derrick Mims, district director, for Assembleyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer; and Sydney Kamlager, member elect, of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.

See more photos on the District’s Facebook page.


About the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans:
President Barack Obama created the initiative to improve educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages by working across agencies to identify and share evidence-based practices that improve student achievement and career success. On Friday, June 26, the Initiative hosted a solution-based forum at UCLA called “The Summits on Educational Excellence for African Americans” with Ebony Magazine.