South Bend Schools push to lower suspension rate of African-American students

WSBT 22 photo

South Bend Schools has hired a new member of its staff. Nathan Boyd is now the Director of African American Student and Parent Services.

Boyd says he has many plans for the upcoming school year. But his first order of business is lowering the suspension rate in African-American students.

He says it's a tall task and if he's going to be successful he needs the entire community's help.

"I measure my own success by the success of others,” said Boyd.

That success won't be achieved alone.

"This new hire is going to support team south bend, this new hire knows the community, this new hire is very experienced, and he's going to go out in the community and hit the ground running the first day,” said South Bend Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Spells.

Boyd says there needs to be a change in the schools.

"We need to get our kids, all kids regardless of race, they have to be in the classroom,” he said.

But he plans to lower suspension rates by not having his own plan.

"I wouldn't be smart, I believe, to walk in with a plan. I think the most important thing to do is to take the pulse of our community,” said Boyd. “There's a lot of individuals that I am familiar with and I believe that helps I have relationships with many individuals around our community."

Dr. Spells hopes Boyd bridges the gap between administrators, teachers, students and parents.

"I think he can help us close the achievement gap, I think he can help principals and teachers with students and he can really get out in the community and talk to those families,” he said.

"Our parents, regardless of where they are, they’re doing the best they can with what they have. It's our job to make sure that we kind of build a bridge to help them do even better,” Boyd said.

On top of lowering the suspension rate, Boyd has other goals too. He says he hopes to create a district wide app to open the lines of communication between parents and teachers.

Another goal? Making sure there are more programs for kids outside of school.

He says he knows this will take time and joked that Rome wasn't built in a day.

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