Words on the Street is a writing and literacy program that partners Solomon Jones with Art Sanctuary in an effort that brings the resources of educational, corporate and media entities to bear while harnessing the power of the people who matter most – parents. Research indicates that parental involvement remains a strong predictor of educational success, but parents can’t do it alone, so we’ve assembled a dynamic team to help. Our local and national partners include the Knight Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, Art Sanctuary, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clear Channel Radio, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University, and Minotaur Books.
Our goal is to improve reading scores for all students, but for black male high school students in particular. The statistics tell us why. Reading scores for black male twelfth graders were 24 points lower than their white counterparts in 2005. The national on-time graduation rate for black males was 48 percent compared to 74 percent for white males in 2005. In Philadelphia in 2007-08, it was even worse, with only 28 percent of black male students graduating on time. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, about 50 percent of the U.S. population will be African American, Hispanic, or Asian. This demographic shift indicates that the academic performance of students of color must be addressed if America is to compete globally.
Bestselling author Solomon Jones will facilitate student/parent workshops that teach the elements of story. A curriculum based on Jones’s novel, The Last Confession, will reinforce these lessons while also examining the impact of life choices such as violence vs. forgiveness. Participants will improve their critical thinking skills and create their own stories, the best of which will be published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, the participating school whose reading scores improve most will be mentioned in Jones’s next novel.
Want to be involved? Suggest the program to your local high school or school district, or contact Solomon Jones directly to discuss other ways you can help.