Working to Close the Achievement Gap

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The numbers from the Ohio Department of Education gave former state lawmaker C.J. Prentiss her marching orders. As an advisor to Governor Ted Strickland, she has developed a plan to close the gap between a 64% high school graduation rate for African American males and the 88% rate of their white counterparts. The program is being tested at 12 Cleveland-area schools, where adult men are mentoring 9th-grade boys. JFK principal Charita Cockrum says they are most at-risk to fail the Ohio Graduation Test..

COCKROM: Whether it's the mentoring to prepare them for the tutoring for the OGT ... Whether it's emotional mentoring that they're not receiving at home... These are men who are assisting our young men. And it's been just wonderful to see the difference

Especially at her school, says Cockrom, which has the District's largest population of students in foster care. Some of those students and their new mentors ended Monday's observance in song, demonstrating the power of connection, in a world that sometimes drives people apart.

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