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.
Summer Scholars will be a six-week summer program open to between 60 and 75 Black / African American males from current grades 6-8. The six weeks will be divided into two sessions with three weeks in June and three weeks in July. The focus will be on literacy and foundational math skills, plus include components for understanding health and wellness, financial literacy, as well as opportunities for mentoring.
As 6th graders, Black Male Scholars will complete core content classes as a cohort: English, Math, Social Studies, and Science, with curriculum specific to African American history and culture. The students will participate in two electives based on their individual interests, and will be encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities offered at Bowling Green Junior High.
Lightning says, “Black Male Scholars is uniquely designed to fit student needs academically and socially, but have them still very much part of Bowling Green Junior High.”
Applications for Black Male Scholars (current 5th graders) are available for download. Applications should be returned to elementary school counselors by May 5, 2021. Interviews will be scheduled for the week of May 10-14.
Summer Scholar Invitations will be distributed at BGJHS soon.
OVERVIEW OF BLACK MALE SCHOLARS (PDF)
2021-2022 Application (PDF)