City Colleges of Chicago, LevelUp, Achieving the Dream (ATD), and the University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab (IEL) came together with leaders in higher education to understand barriers to Black learner post-secondary access and success, strengthen understanding of national data, amplify emerging best practices, and build a community to support Black learner excellence. 

“Today is an opportunity to explore how each of us can best support Black students,” said City Colleges Chancellor Juan Salgado. “While there is good work happening, there is much more to do. Black student success is central to our mission at City Colleges. If we truly want to have a city that takes pride in its ability to have racial equity and opportunity in our city, Black learner excellence is central, and City Colleges is central to getting us there.”  

The day-long summit was packed with data-focused disruptors, all focused on Black learner outcomes, including Dr. Karen Stout of Achieving the Dream, Dr. Keith Curry from LevelUp, Dr. Brandon Nichols from Olive-Harvey College, Dr. Kafi Moragne-Patterson, Courtney Washington, and Carmelo Barbaro from UChicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab, Dominique “Dom” McKoy from University of Chicago’s To & Through Project, President Z. Scott from Chicago State University, Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth from Olive-Harvey College, Dr. Shawn Jackson from Harry S Truman College, President David Sanders from Malcolm X College, Dr. Katonja Webb Walker from Kennedy-King College, and Dr. Aarti Dhupelia from City Colleges of Chicago.  

City Colleges of Chicago Executive Vice Chancellor-Chief Student Experience Officer Aarti Dhupelia closed the summit with some actionable takeaways, saying, “There are proof points of what works. We prioritize Black learner excellence in budgets, we honor student voices and experience as we set priorities, we build relationships and a culture of care for our students.” 

This inaugural Black Learner Excellence Summit was presented by Achieving the Dream, The UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab, The Joyce Foundation, The ECMC Foundation, HCM Strategists, Equity Avengers, and Level Up.