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Steve M. Tietjen, Ed.D | County Superintendent of Schools

Caring For Our Black Children

Merced County Office of Education

The “Caring for our Black Children" project is a three year grant (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020) funded by First 5 Merced County.

This is a dual-capacity building project seeking to increase cultural sensitivity and awareness of the implicit bias toward African American children and its impact on educational outcomes based upon research and data obtained at national, state, and local levels.

The first goal is to build a foundation of trust between our black community and educational systems, starting with early education programs, partners and practitioners serving children, ages 0-5 to increase the awareness of the disadvantaged reality experienced by black families in Merced County and to emphasize and prioritize cultural competence skill building (institutionally, personally, and instructionally) within educational systems.

The second goal is to engage and empower caregivers (defined as:  parents, grandparents, educators, child care providers, foster parents, community members and others) who touch the lives of African American children, by using a culturally responsive framework to build their capacity in parenting, advocating, and leadership for increased student achievement and improved experiences within educational settings.    

These goals will achieved as follows:

1.  Convene representatives from early education/child development programs, school personnel/administrators, key community stakeholders, and parents to explore the strengths and weaknesses of existing family engagement efforts, and identify areas for improvement to meet the unique needs of African-American children and families in Merced County.  These convenings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  Other local collaborations with representatives, identified as 'cultural brokers',  will offer input to enrich learning about ethnic, racial and cultural needs specific to black families in Merced County.   

2.  Recruit local professionals and community members to participate in a 40-hour, Train the Trainer training to serve as local trainers of the Effective Black Parenting Program.  Trainers were selected based upon an application screening process. This goal was achieved in March 2018, where 18 individuals successfully completed the training program.   Merced County trainers are:  Michelle Allison, Maria Bautista, Jackie Brunger, Tamara Cobb, Erika Contreras, Andrea Cruthird-Mays, Laverne Davis, Eugene Drummond, Taylor Frost, Lamar Henderson, Robert Hubbard, Rosa Kindred-Winzer, Jenny Mendoza, Amelia Peterson, Ericka Peterson, Marie Pickney, Samantha Thompson, Melvin Trahan,

3. Recruit parents to participate in the Caring for Our Black Children-Successful Parenting Program (based upon the “Effective Black Parenting Program", developed by the Center for Improvement of Child Caring.)   Cohorts are tentatively scheduled for Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2019. 

For more information about the program, specific dates for training, or registering for a training, please contact Samantha Thompson at 209-381-6719 or by email,​

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