PINE BLUFF, Ark. – A group of young men from high schools around the Pine Bluff community have been on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) campus for the last four months as part of the Produce! Create! Innovate! Community Producer program. Sponsored by a grant from the Beyond the Bricks Program (BTBP), they will celebrate completion of BTBP with a graduation ceremony Friday, May 10 at 6pm in Cross-Phipps auditorium of Caldwell Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The guest speaker will be Dr. David Rainey, superintendent of schools in Dumas, Arkansas. Formerly a State Representative, Rainey also served as visiting Professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and managed a partnership between the University and five school districts to improve reading, math and English K-12. Prior to working at UAPB, he was a Program Manager with the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) where he managed the Intensive Site work in the 5 states served by SEDL–Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. This major research initiative was designed to assist districts and schools in working systemically to improve student achievement in reading and math. Other positions in his career include Director of the Southeast Comprehensive Assistance Center (SECAC); Director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences and thirteen years as a building administrator with the Dumas Public Schools.
His educational background includes a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Masters in Secondary School Administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and a Bachelor’s in History and Government from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
About the Beyond the Bricks Project
The Beyond the Bricks Project (BTBP) is a media and international community engagement initiative to encourage and promote community based solutions to increase educational and social outcomes for school age Black males. The BTBP takes a grassroots approach to improving those outcomes by engaging community members including the young men themselves, educators, civic leaders, and other stakeholders to craft solutions to the challenges the young men face in their schools, neighborhoods, and cities. Importantly, we encourage the young men to examine their roles as leaders and community citizens.
The BTBP believes that taking an asset-based attitude that seeks to build on young Black males’ strengths, both individually and collectively, helps to prepare them to be leaders in advancing themselves, each other, and their communities. To that end, the project aims to create a national network of communities, organizations and foundations, universities, industries and individuals who are committed to shifting the trajectory of all our young people towards success and community advocacy.
The BTBP work towards establishing partnerships throughout the country and the world to encourage communities to address not only the educational and social inequities that contribute to failure, but also to look at the change that’s necessary within communities so that everyone is accountable and takes responsibility for the success of our children. For more information about BTBP, visit http://beyondthebricksproject.com .
For more information about the Beyond the Bricks Project Community Producers Program at UAPB, call (870)575-7063.