Research & Evaluation

BLOOM:

In May 2012, the California Community Foundation (CCF) launched a five-Year initiative focused on serving Black male youth involved in the juvenile delinquency system.  The Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM) Initiative was designed with the goal of redirecting Black male youth, ages 14-18-years-old involved with the Los Angeles County probation system, toward improved educational and employment opportunities and outcomes.  In collaboration with CCF and several community-based organizations, the UCLA Black Male Institute evaluated and documented the progress made toward serving probation-involved Black male youth in South Los Angeles during the first three years of the Initiative (2012-2015).

Year 3 Highlights:

In the third year of the initiative, nearly 400 young men were enrolled in BLOOM, an aggregate increase of 222 BLOOM youth participants between year(s) one and three.  Further, a majority of BLOOM youth remain active participants of the community partner programming, nearly 84% remained enrolled in school, and 82% of BLOOM youth did not re-offend in the third year of the Initiative. Overall, the Initiative has made effective gains in model development in the first three years of the program.  While the year 3 report specifically documents the progress of BLOOM youth participants’ educational attainment, employment, and recidivism rate, it is important to note the success of the Initiative in collaborating with community-based efforts to develop a conversation around the complexities of serving probation-involved youth.

Read our Year Three Evaluation Report

Freedom Schools:

In the 1960’s, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools started as part of a nationwide effort to assist African Americans in achieving social, political, and economic equality in the United States.  Originating  in the South, college-­age youth operated Freedom Schools to provide an alternative to the state’s underfunded and segregated school system.  Half a century later,  CDF Freedom Schools continue to aid students through summer and after-school programs; and remain an important topic of discussion.  

With support from Supervisor Mark Ridley­‐Thomas’ office, the UCLA Black Male Institute (BMI), along with Vital Research, are engaging in research on the impact that CDF Freedom Schools are having on literacy development and civic engagement of South Los Angeles Youth.  The BMI conducts the qualitative aspect of the research for the evaluation of the Freedom Schools project.  Focus groups are conducted at each site to provide an in-depth, firsthand account of how participants at the sites are experiencing the Freedom Schools program. Focus group questions are designed to engage the participants in critical thought on their experiences during program.

Read Children Defense Fund Freedom Schools Evaluation Report

 

Gateway-to-Graduation (Research):

In 2010, the BMI offered an undergraduate research course (Project Lumina) in which the students examined Black male retention at UCLA.  As a part of the research project, the undergraduate participants recommended that BMI create a course introducing first year Black male undergraduates to key campus resources early in their college experience, as a strategy to ensure successful navigation of the UCLA campus.  Blacklimated launched in 2011, to support first-year Black male freshman and transfer students.  And Sister-to-Sister was introduced in 2014, to support Black female undergraduates throughout their college experience and beyond.  Below is a selected list of class topics:

In 2010, the BMI offered an undergraduate research course (Project Lumina) in which the students examined Black male retention at UCLA.  As a part of the research project, the undergraduate participants recommended that BMI create a course introducing first year Black male undergraduates to key campus resources early in their college experience, as a strategy to ensure successful navigation of the UCLA campus.  Blacklimated launched in 2011, to support first-year Black male freshman and transfer students.  And Sister-to-Sister was introduced in 2014, to support Black female undergraduates throughout their college experience and beyond.  Below is a selected list of class topics:

Sister-to-Sister

  • Identity among Black Women
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • Building Community among Black Women
  • Sexual Assault in the lives of Black Women

Blacklimated

  • Introduction to Research
  • Mental Health/Stress Support
  • Strategies for Academic Success
  • Building Community among Black Men

Both courses have experienced tremendous success, serving nearly 300 undergraduate students since 2011.  To date, in the Blacklimated course, 96% of Black males who completed the course during their first year on the UCLA campus, have been retained.  The Gateway-to-Graduation project is the BMI’s formal research project in which we are examining what role, if any, does Sister-to-Sister and/or Blacklimated play in the retention, persistence, and graduation rates of Black undergraduate students at UCLA.

 

High-Achieving Males Project:

In 2014, Dr. Shaun Harper from the University of Pennsylvania released the New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study. The purpose of the research was to understand how Black and Latino males succeeded in-and-out of school, developed college aspirations, became college­‐ready, and navigated their ways to postsecondary education. The goal being, instead of further amplifying deficits and documenting failures in urban schools, Dr. Harper and researchers from UPenn chose to study students who figured out how to foster productive relationships, resist pressures to join gangs and drop out of high school, and succeed in environments cyclically disadvantaged by structural inequities. Building off of the important work of Harper and Associates, the UCLA BMI launched a similar study in the summer of 2014, to examine the educational experiences of high-achieving Black and Latino males in L.A. County.


Over the last two years, the BMI High Achieving Male Project (HAMP) team has conducted interviews with 250 Black and Latino male students across six LA county high schools. The data was gathered through in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observations at schools and various community-based sites.  The research team is currently writing the report that seeks to debunk the myths that all young Black and Latino males are in crisis or a menace to society.  The report examines evidences of Black and Latino male success in the home, school, and community, thus challenging conventional notions of the topic.

The final report will be released in June 2016.

 

Saving Our Sons Project:

Saving Our Sons was a two-year research project that examined the impact that all male learning spaces have on the academic and behavioral outcomes of African American males at three different high school sites in Los Angeles County.  The study sought to examine the organizational structures of these spaces, and the pedagogical practices used by the teachers who led them.  The first article “Does the Negro still need separate schools: Single-sex educational settings as critical race counterspaces” expounds upon this research.  This article explores whether contemporary educators should consider single-sex educational settings as viable interventions in educating African American males. Using qualitative data from the study, the authors argue that when all-male spaces effectively function as Critical Race Theory counterspaces, the educational experiences of high school–aged Black males are positively transformed. These cocurricular, single-sex counterspaces can effectively shield Black males from the marginalizing effects of urban schooling while serving as platforms for productive reengagement in positive school trajectories. Research-based principles for designing effective single-sex educational settings are discussed.

Read Does a "Negro" Still Need  A Separate School? Single Sex Educational Settings as Critical Race Counterspaces