Building Faith-based Partnerships
One of the most pressing challenges in communities, both in the U.S. and abroad, is closing the achievement gap between Black males and their counterparts from other demographic groups. Our partnership with the Turner Chapel AME Church Education Ministry has yielded some important and impressive successes that other communities can learn from. Pictured above are students whom we begin working with to prepare for the Georgia Criterion-Reference Competency Testing (CRCT). Through such early interventions, our students will not only be better prepared to be admitted into college, they will be prepared to succeed in college.
Through our strategies, we have been able to:
- Create an institutional focus on student achievement
- Establish expectations and publicly celebrate student achievement
- Inspire students to establish personal achievement goals
- Provide support mechanisms for students to achieve their goals
- Empower experts to lead
- Build partnerships to expand
- Engage in continual debriefing/preplanning to assess and revise strategies
These strategies have resulted in a broad range of programs, initiatives, and support mechanisms for students in elementary school through college:
- A biannual celebration of student achievement for students in grades K – 12 earning a 3.0 GPA or higher we have successfully raised academic expectations and parent awareness of the importance of tracking their child’s grades semester to semester, and from year to year. We offer special award for the male and female students in grades 6 – 12 who have the highest overall GPA.
- Georgia CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) Prep for students in grades 3 – 8 through our partnerships with High Points Learning (online math tutorial) and Pathways Educational Services (math teachers/tutors).
- A comprehensive series of college-planning workshops outlining the importance of course selection, academic rigor, school choice, summer programs, enrichment opportunities, college research, essay writing, interviewing, scholarships, financial aid, completing the FAFSA, and the importance of community service.
- SAT Prep and college tours through our partnership with Pathways Educational Services to expose students to college campuses, college admissions officers, and the type of SAT and ACT scores that colleges are looking for in applicant pool.
- An annual college fair with over 50 colleges and universities represented. HBCUs, state colleges and universities, Ivy League, Technical Colleges, and the U.S. Service Academies are all represented so that our students can learn firsthand what it will take to prepare for college.
- A leadership program for high school students, the Education Ministry Youth Ambassadors. This program is designed to ensure they develop the presentation, public speaking, and leadership skills that will make them competitive candidates for the most selective colleges and universities.
- A high school graduation celebration for our high school seniors, who attend public and private secondary schools in as many as 8 different school districts. We recognize, celebrate, pray, and bless them with financial awards as we send them off to a broad range of institutions of higher education (HBCU, Ivy League, State Colleges and Universities, Military Academies, and Liberal Arts Colleges).
- An Adopt-a-Grad program where we remain connected to our college students. They are invited to participate on our annual college panel, relied upon to mentor students enrolling at their college or university, and are provided with scholarship and internship opportunities.
We are not relying on a “Program,” but a set of “Strategies.” These strategies have yielded extraordinary results. Our students have participated in a board range of enrichment and pre-college summer programs, received full scholarships to a broad range of colleges and universities, have been recognized as National Merit and Gates Millennium Scholars. Our students have earned near perfect scores on the Georgia Writing Assessment, CRCT, SAT, and ACT.
These strategies provide a comprehensive model that any faith-based or community organization can model. Schools cannot do it alone. Based on the 2011 ACT results, nearly 8 out of 10 of all high school seniors took the ACT with aspirations of attending a 4-year college of university. However, less than 4 out of 10 were considered “college ready” in each of the subject areas tested. For Black students, only 4 out of 100 were college ready.
Please contact us to learn how your church or community organization can develop such strategies to meet the needs of students and families in your local community.
(678) 395-5825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.