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Ready for School


The Dr. Hazel N. Dukes Education Initiative traces its origins back to March 2020, when New York State faced the unprecedented closure of its schools in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In the face of this challenge, our initiative was born out of a firm belief that all young people, regardless of their circumstances, could excel academically. We firmly believed that underserved communities should not be the exception but the rule when it came to accessing quality education.

As the pandemic unfolded, it became increasingly clear that children throughout New York State, including those in PreK, elementary, middle, high schools, and college scholars in low-income communities, were grappling with the complexities of the new blended learning model, which included remote education.

Community disparities immediately surfaced, with a significant number of students unable to access the same level of educational services they had before the pandemic. This issue was particularly pronounced in school districts with a high concentration of minority students that were historically underfunded, further underscoring the urgent need for equitable education and services for all. We firmly believe that successful access to remote learning should not be dictated by a student's background or zip code.

As we navigate the next phase of reopening schools, we have pioneered a peer-based solution that empowers our high school students to support one another. The NAACP NYS Education Plan, created by our LIFTED PLUS EDUCATION Task Force, is designed for a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including students, parents, caregivers, teachers, counselors, leaders, school districts, college admissions officers, and education policymakers. Within this plan, we emphasize the critical components of our mentorship program, aimed at providing essential support and guidance to students from birth through young adulthood. Through the Dr. Hazel N. Dukes Education Initiative, we are dedicated to realizing our vision of equitable and quality education for all.

Our Story

Our Guiding Principals

We are dedicated to ensuring that every student, regardless of their background, enjoys equitable access to a high-quality public education. We firmly reject all obstacles that hinder the realization of this fundamental right.

Equitable Access

Our initiative is rooted in a robust advocacy framework. We believe that advocacy, when combined with rigorous training, can be a powerful force for change in the education landscape. We actively engage in advocating for the removal of barriers to quality education opportunities and address racial, ethnic, and economic disparities.

Advocacy for All

Building strong and inclusive collaborative networks is at the core of our philosophy. We understand that true progress is achieved through partnerships and alliances. We work closely with the NAACP, state and local education committee chairs, and our esteemed Partners in Education to leverage collective expertise and resources.

Collaborative Networks

We recognize the significance of well-informed and progressive policies in shaping the educational landscape. Our commitment extends to the development of sound policies that foster educational equity and opportunity for all.

Policy Development

We firmly believe that action speaks louder than words. We engage in direct actions aimed at breaking down systemic barriers and creating a more inclusive and just educational environment.

Direct Action

The Dr. Hazel N. Dukes Education Initiative is proud to adopt the innovative education model crafted by the NAACP New York State Conference Educational Task Force for Equity Initiative, known as "Connect All Kids." This model harnesses cutting-edge learning hardware and software programs designed to empower students in enhancing their learning skills through assistive technology. It specifically benefits students with special needs and those facing academic challenges by improving their performance across various subjects while also promoting stress reduction and behavior modification. As research indicates that schools in underprivileged areas often struggle in academic metrics, we embrace this model as a stepping stone to address these unique challenges and establish robust accountability measures to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education.

Our Philisophy

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