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White House Sponsors Summits to Boost African-American Student Achievement

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The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and Ebony magazine are hosting a series of summits to emphasize the importance of supporting the nation's black youth as they seek academically rigorous schooling to prepare them for their future careers.

The 2014 Summits on Educational Excellence for African Americans begin Friday at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Two-day summits are planned throughout the year with stops at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., Laney College in Oakland, Calif., and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. According to the initiative's webpage, President Barack Obama established the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in 2012 to "help accelerate national efforts to support African-American students." The Atlanta summit's agenda, also features panel discussions that will support President Obama's new My Brother's Keeper Initiative, which aims to establish a collaborative and multi-disciplinary effort to support boys and young men of color.

Summit organizers will highlight the achievements and efforts of groups and individuals who are working to assist African-American youth succeed in school, according to the initiative's webpage. The summit also hopes to establish more community engagement opportunities that would help parents and other community members boost the number of African-American high school graduates who are ready to succeed in college or their careers. The summits are free and open to the public, although registration is required. 

According to a post on Ebony's website, each summit will be dedicated to a specific topic starting with the socio-cultural factors influencing black boys and men, which will be discussed during the meeting this week. The Chicago-based magazine noted that the remaining summit topics are mental and physical health, education and employment, and finally, justice and safety.

National PTA President Otha Thornton, who will be a summit featured panelist, said in a PTA release: "It is critical that all students have access to opportunities that prepare them for success in the global workforce."

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