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Mentoring program aims to help African American male students

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by Tim Mandell, Richmond Register

Velmar Miller was one of a group of local residents who saw an alarming trend in the Madison Central School District.

When looking at standardized test scores, Miller saw that African American males were scoring far below other students in every test and category.

While brainstorming on how to solve the problem, the idea was formed to create the African American Mentoring Program.

Still in its early stages, the mentoring program is being designed to pair students with a mentor in the hope that it leads to a positive outcome.

Miller, president of the African American Mentoring Program, gave a presentation to the school board Thursday night.

“We’ve been talking about needing to do something to address those problems,” Miller said of the low test scores. “We can’t be satisfied with below average.”

The mission statement of the mentoring program is to “provide authentic mentoring opportunities for African American Male students and enhance educational opportunities throughout Madison County,” Miller said.

Wade Stanfield, Superintendent Intern in the district, sent 100 letters to parents of prospective students, informing them of the program and inviting them to take part.

“An involved parent is an empowered parent,” Stanfield said.

Miller agrees that getting the parents involved is a key step in introducing the program.

“We want to make the parents aware of the opportunities they have and take advantage of them,” Miller said.

“Those test scores mean a lot,” Miller added. “If they have low test scores, they won’t get into college. If they don’t get into college, they might get involved in something that isn’t positive.”

Miller and Stanfield have been pleased with the feedback from the community.

“Since I was introduced with being involved in the program, I have people who approach me or call me wanting to have a little more information about what we’re going to do to help their kids,” Stanfield said. “It’s all been very positive.”

Miller said the next step is to put students into the program, establish a curriculum, identify certified mentors, seek help from the community, and secure donations and grants.

At 6 p.m., Monday, at the Technology Training Center, the mentoring program will have a parent information session to introduce parents to the program and its officers.

Anyone interested in being involved in the program can call 625-6109 or 625-6148.


Written by Symphony

September 13, 2009 at 9:24 am

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