Bowling Green Junior High will begin a Black Male Scholars Program to provide a higher, intentional level of support and resources for young Black men. The program has two components: Summer Scholars for grades 6-8, and beginning in August 2021, Black Male Scholars with up to 25 incoming 6th graders.
Principal Robert Lightning shared plans for Black Male Scholars as part of the Bowling Green Independent Schools Annual Planning Session. The overall initiative is intended to help BGJHS address one of the district’s primary goals: identifying areas of inequity and developing plans to improve access for students.
Lightning says, “In every category, our African American students are the most underperforming in reading and math. Plus, when we look at access to challenging curriculum, and the enrollment of African American students in advanced courses; what we hear is they do not enroll because they don’t see other kids who look like them. We have to acknowledge the problem and decide what we are going to do about it.”
The Black Male Scholars Program has three primary goals: first, curriculum and content taught through the lens of African American history and culture. Second, provide social and emotional group sessions and intentional transition and career interest activities, and third: provide a sense of belonging for students, with mentoring and caregiver support. The overall model will focus on student strengths, not deficits, while holding them to high expectations.