Project RISES meets with Hillsborough County's Superintendent, Addison Davis

Project RISES Superintendent Meeting

October 20th, 2021

Project RISES (RISES is the acronym for Racism in School Exclusionary Suspensions) had a meeting with Superintendent Addison Davis and his leadership team to discuss our project and a partnership with HCPS. Brenda Walker is the PI for the project, and I am one of the Co-PIs of the project along with Dr. LaSonya Moore, Dr. Saundra Johnson Austin, and Dr. Gwendolyn Webb from Texas A & M University.

Project RISES is a mixed-methods study that addresses the long-standing phenomenon of out-of-school suspensions and school pushout resulting in African American middle and high school adolescents dropping out of school before graduation and entering the school-to-prison pipeline. This is a multi-year, three-phased national study compelled by the recent civil unrest and resounding calls to eradicate racism in schools. Our research team seek to understand and address systemic racism using culturally-responsive and transdisciplinary research approaches that capitalize on our partnerships with African American community entities. Project RISES explores school suspensions and the extent to which perceptions of racism or differential treatment are held by African American adolescents with multiple school suspensions occurring between August, 2018 and March, 2020, and families and community members. The overarching research questions are: To what extent do African Americans attribute school suspensions to racism? How do African Americans process police officers’ practices and school resource officers’ presence and practices in schools? What recommendations do African Americans have for teachers and principals to be more effective? Given our COVID-19 reality and uncertainties, surveys will be administered virtually to approximately 100 middle and high school African American students. In addition, 50 students, 25 family members, and 25 community members from each of our three community sites will participate in virtual focus groups, for a total of 400 study participants.