A great education gives our youth the opportunity to achieve goals that can only be imagined. I want students to know that education is used as a stepping stone to propel yourself to the next level of success. As an educator for 10 years in the capacity of school counselor, my goals have always been student-centered. Students should be placed in a position to learn from one another while receiving first hand, relevant information. Yes, we can have them sit in classrooms and hear about the great things that our community leaders are accomplishing. At some point in adolescence, this information has to be tangible. Throughout my career, I’ve attempted to go above and beyond by placing community leaders directly in front of my students.
Currently, I’m coordinator of a program called Brotherhood of Super Stars or BOSS. BOSS is a voluntary mentoring program designed to encourage our black male students to connect achievement with career choices. We want students to begin thinking about lifelong goals, and prepare them to participate in the community as productive citizens. Currently, there are over 100 student participants in the BOSS program in grades 6-8. Without placing these goals in front of our students, we leave our black male students exposed to the inequities in a broken system. Although we are closing the achievement gap, there is still much work that has to be performed beyond the classroom. BOSS gives our students the opportunity to hear first-hand information from community leaders in our speaker series. These community leaders, in turn expose our students to positive male role-models, the challenges of being a black man in our society, as well as ways to overcome those challenges. Speakers promote excellence in academics, instill leadership characteristics, and develop problem-solving and decision making skills. We also aim to increase self-esteem and independence. BOSS is designed to help our students realize the unlimited options available as they think about their future goals. Beyond the speaker series, BOSS members also participate in college tours, community service, student empowerment conferences, and the history of Kwanzaa celebration.
To run a successful mentoring program in the school setting, complete buy-in is a must. Administrators, teachers, PTSA, Instructional Leadership Team, and community stakeholders must have a clear vision of the goals and procedures of the program. In the summer months, it is important to work with administrators to have a collaborative vision of the school and district goals around creating equity. Moving into the school year, teachers, parents, and community members should also know the focus of the program and how it impacts student learning and achievement.
My time in Montgomery County Public Schools has been a daily learning experience. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to learn while collaborating and being a part of a great leadership team at Julius West Middle School. My success in MCPS thus far has been attributed to the great leadership of my current principal, Craig Staton and the BOND Project Leadership Team. Beyond these leadership experiences, I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education Leadership. At this time, there’s no dissertation topic in stone, but based on my experiences with this Brotherhood of Super Stars, “The impact that a culturally proficient learning environment has on the success of African American males.” is a topic that has peaked my interest.