left to right: Kendrick Davis, City of Philadelphia, Mayors office of Education, Director of STEM Initiatives; Jack Drummond, City of Philadelphia, Director of Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement, Naomi Dennis, White House Fellow at ED, ; Rachel Holzman, Esq., The School District of Philadelphia, Deputy Chief, US Department of Education Geoffrey Mock, Regional Representative for Senator, Casey Karyn Lynch, The School District of Philadelphia, Chief of Student Support Services Dr. William Hite, The School District of Philadelphia, Superintendent, Tyler Wims, The School District of Philadelphia, Director of Student Leadership, Leslie Cornfeld, U.S Department of Education, Director of Strategic Partnerships/Special Advisor to the Secretary Office of the Secretary, Darryl Bundridge, Executive Director and Vice President of City Year Philadelphia (Source: MBK-Philly Archive)


On October 6, mentors, school principals, families and counselors converged at the School District of Philadelphia for the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative Kickoff 2016.

“Studies identify chronic absenteeism as an early indicator of the likelihood for a student to drop out of school,” said Jack Drummond, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement. “As stakeholders, we all need to be mobilized around efforts of mentoring.”

MBK Success Mentors Initiative is a landmark response to the challenge of chronic student absences in our country. As a partnership of the United States Education Department, the White House, The Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University, the Corporation for National and Community Service, MENTOR, Attendance Works, United Way, the Ad Council, Mott Foundation, Diplomas Now and City Year, the initiative utilizes school-based mentorship as a means of placating the problem of chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing at least 10% of school per year, or the equivalent of a month of school.

“City Year is proud to be a part of the MBK Success Mentor Initiative in Philadelphia,” said City Year Executive Director and Vice President Darryl Bundrige.  “Partnering with the school district and others, we are committed to changing the trajectory of our students; putting them on pathways of excellence and hope as they realize their potential.”

The initiative aims to reduce incessant truancy by connecting over one million students who are at risk of becoming chronically absent with trained school-linked caring adults and near-peers over the next 3-5 years. It is the nation’s first-ever effort to measure an evidence-based, data-driven mentor model to reach and support the highest risk students – using existing resources (adults already in a school) such as coaches, administrators, security guards and others to engage an at-risk student with a mentor one-on-one, to address the core causes of hardened nonattendance to drive student success.

“The main thing we want to do is get as many kids to go to school and keep them on track,” said School District of Philadelphia Director of Student Leadership Tyler Wims.

“Our work is to get them geared towards college or career; saving kids’ lives, and preventing that school to prison pipeline. A lot of really good people came out today and are really invested in helping our young people. And that’s what the city of Philadelphia needs.”

After the success of My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative Kickoff, the MBK Philly team is primed to closeout the year 2016 on strong footing as we continue to further the work of creating an equitable Philadelphia by eliminating disparities in outcomes for boys and young men of color.



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