Advance payment: support for underrepresented students in STEM

Dixon found work as an assistant chaplain at Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, and began teaching there as well. “I’ve always considered my life a journey of faith,” he says. In fact, he went on to pursue a master’s degree in divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and has been both a preacher and a teacher for the past 20 years. “In Brooks, I learned that teaching is my calling,” he says. “As a teacher, I was able to mentor and support students and pay for what I received from my teachers in advance.” Dixon also earned a doctorate in education from Boston College in 2003.

After leaving Brooks, Dixon taught physics and mathematics at public schools in Newton and then in Boston. His goal was to make STEM subjects more appealing to all students, especially black and brown.

In 2005, Dixon was given the opportunity to lead Dorchester’s Parkside Christian Academy, where he taught. He and Crystal took leadership roles at the school, expanding it from K-8 to pre-K by 12th grade. They renamed the Crossfactor Academy; Dixon was both a STEM teacher and school principal, and Crystal was the principal of the administration. They also enrolled their six sons. “The goal was to create a space where students of color would be encouraged and expected to succeed in teaching STEM because the appropriate scaffolding and rigor would be available to them at every level of the class,” he says. “On every test result, [Crossfactor students] exceeded the expectations that outsiders had of them. ”

Crossfactor Academy closed in 2018, primarily for financial reasons. “It was a great ride,” Dixon says. “I know we have made a difference in the lives of these children and their families. That was the hardest part of the imprisonment – the students and their families. ”

Dixon continues to work to strengthen education through a variety of efforts both inside and outside the classroom, including the establishment of the MIT Black Alumni STEM Committee (BAMIT), which leads BAMIT’s efforts to expand K-12 STEM education for colored students. He also now teaches at public schools in Boston at Dearborn STEM Academy. “We celebrate the day of the number in my classroom,” he says. “I am committed to being a teacher who advises and encourages colored children to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. That will never change. My teachers did the same for me. ”

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