Feb. 5, 2021

Episode 35: Mentoring Black Students With Ricardo Bates

During the month of February, we will be highlighting conversations that I feel are necessary for educators as well as the recognition of Black History Month. These conversations are sparked by photos and articles I’ve seen on Twitter about How Not To Celebrate Black History. The gist: for anyone’s participation in Black History Month to not come across as performative it’s important to understand the culture and experience of Black people in America. As some educators begin to celebrate Black history during the month of February, African American males continue to face a bleak future in 2021. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in his lifetime.

Our guest, assistant principal Ricardo Bates, works extensively to change this narrative. Ricardo is passionate about mentoring students of all cultures but understands that reaching Black youth during COVID-19 is a priority. He has spent six years in education advancing the ranks from his start as an English teacher to his current role. He played college football at the University of Houston, where he discovered a passion for filmmaking and storytelling. In his films, Ricardo depicts the struggles that young Black men face and overcome through sports and teamwork, and their victories.

In this episode, we speak with Ricardo about his experience with mentoring African American youths. We also discuss how students thrive when teachers build relationships with them and create authentic learning experiences. I also asked him about his film The Prattville Way, his production company The BateHouse, and his newest movie “Fruit”.

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