Angaza is a support and enrichment program for high-achieving students from historically-underserved communities. Based on research on stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson), disidentification (Osborne) and cultural ecology theory (Ogbu), Angaza is designed to dispel cultural stereotypes and self-images that often undermine high achieving students’ ability to be successful. Each Angaza mentee receives services falling within four strands:
- Additional staff support from counselors, teachers and administrators who will monitor academic progress of Angaza students very closely.
- Mentoring support from adult and student (9th and 10th grade mentees only)
- Cultural enrichment
- Increased involvement of Angaza mentees in college recruitment and preparedness events and summer academic enrichment programs
Despite the current focus of many schools and districts on both data analysis and educational research, remarkably little has been done at most school sites to implement intervention programs based on site-based needs. More common is the approach of bringing in an intervention program, such as AVID, as a part of a district-level initiative. Unlike other enrichment programs, Angaza emphasizes not only academics, but cultural identity, as well. Enculturation, peer-mentoring and personal growth are key to the ultimate success of our students. These concepts are central to the philosophy of Angaza and are captured by Angaza’s four pillars:
- Each One Teach One – We believe that we have a responsibility to others to help them in any way that we can. Service to others is the highest of all endeavors.
- Academic Excellence – Angaza Mentors and mentees exemplify the very best that El Cerrito High School has to offer. We exhibit the very best in scholastic achievement, conduct and critical thinking.
- Knowledge of Self – Angaza mentors and mentees understand that our worldview begins with an understanding of who we are. This worldview begins with an understanding of who we are as individuals, understanding our culture and the way that we are perceived by others.
- Third Eye Open – Angaza mentors and mentees have open minds and see beyond the traditional worldview. We are open to new ideas and think critically about the world around us.
- by Jason Reimann