Per Ankh boosts rate of success

African-American students tear past academic stigmas, succeed

By Robert Clinton, Opinion Editor

The Per Ankh academy, since its inception two years ago at Contra Costa College, has made tremendous strides toward meeting its goal of improving success rates of African-American students who struggle to pass English 1A and English 142B.

In its first year 18 students entered the program with 14 (77 percent) of those students successfully completing English 142B. The Academy continued to improve in its second year with 85 percent of its students passing their English courses.

Both percentages are above the success rates for African-American students at CCC not participating in the academy.

“Ideally we want a 100 percent success rate,” Math professor and academy co-founder Sherry Sharufa said. “A lot of the credit goes to English professor Bukola Adesokan for doing such a great job with the students.”

The academy holds weekly information meetings to discuss transfer opportunities, the college application process and Per Ankh course options for fall 2017.

The next meetings are April 20 from 2-3 p.m. and April 27 from 4-5:30 p.m. Both will be held in SAB 211.

Per Ankh exposes students to more than just textbook based learning.

Currently, three Per Ankh students are touring historically black colleges on an all-expense paid trip funded by the Student Equity Plan and chaperoned by Transfer Services Director Andrea Phillips.

The program is funded by the Student Equity Plan, administered through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

As success rates increase, academy creators hope to find better ways to promote the program in an attempt to enhance its educational outreach.

“I heard about the program from one of my counselors, I thought it would be good, positive reinforcement for me,” social and behavioral science major Casina Butler said. “I haven’t been able to join yet because I didn’t have the GPA. When I join, I want to be able to maintain the educational requirements.”
Students in Per Ankh are expected to meet a high academic standard as a condition of their membership and maintain a minimum GPA above 2.5 and submit regular progress reports to history department co-chair Carolyn Hodge.

“We still need help with recruitment. We were only getting students from the English classes on campus through Ampim and Hodge, so recruiting has been difficult,” Sharufa said.

Sharufa said that the most effective form of recruiting is done one-on-one. She wants her Per Ankh students to do recruitment outreach to other high schools in the area so they can speak to students in their comfort zone.

“Of course I would definitely be interested — if I had heard of it,” early childhood development major QaMisha Hardy said. “It would be better if they communicated things like this through Facebook or over text.”