Title

Minority Leadership Scholars - Young Men Of Color and Service Learning Projects Unite

Focused Area

Improving School Climate for Youth-At-Risk

Relevance to Focused Area

Last year the Minority Achievement Office (MAO) launched a new initiative in the district of Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), called the Minority Leadership Scholars. Its focus is to take the minority males in high school, who fall into the middle 50% of their class, who exhibit leadership capabilities but have not “tapped” into them yet. After identifying them, they are challenged with an action research project: to research their community and come up with something unique that identify their specific area mentally, either physically, or emotionally. Once identified, they come up with a plan to help the community in this unique area. By tasking them with a project that helps their community, it gives them a sense of belonging that carries over to their school campus. They guys wear shirts and ties on meeting days, or to speaking engagements. They are forming relationships with the town commissioners, which gives the community a chance to see our young minority males in a different venue. It has created a bonded relationship between our high school and our town.

Primary Strand

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance to Primary Strand

Through the forming of this group, students work on higher level thinking skills by researching and proposing solutions to their community areas unique need. Once they identify the area and formulate a plan, they are tasked with following through to make their plan come to fruition. A sponsor and/or mentors guide the students but fundamentally, it is the students’ choice what to research, plan, and implementation of that plan. Through group meetings and brainstorming sessions, students begin to understand how to have intellectual disagreements and how to discuss issues diplomatically. The action plan is a “master’s or doctorate” thesis. Once the students understand the process, they are encouraged to transfer this type of thinking into their everyday classroom experience. It gives them exposure to college level thinking skills and gets them ready for their upper level academic life.

Brief Program Description

The Minority Leadership Scholars program focuses on building leadership skills and academic focus in our young minority male students. Through community projects and youth mentor-ships, we hope to foster a sense of connection between our school and surrounding area, which will flow into the middle and elementary feeder schools and impact future generations.

Summary

Through our presentation, we will explain the Minority Leadership Scholars Program from ideal to fruition. We will discuss statistically, why our district felt the need to target minority males and how the initiative is designed to work. We will show the success of our model program, show testimonies from the inaugural group of officers and young men, and explain in a systematic way that other districts and schools can implement the same program in their area. We will show the model schools action plan, how they came up with their plan, and how successful their action research was at affecting their community. We will show how in the future of our program we will initiated an Innovators Competition between high schools where the top schools will be awarded not only bragging rights and trophies but “seed” money for the next years project and scholarships for their participating seniors. We will highlight the middle and elementary school partnership, which sends the MLS men down to the feeder schools to mentor their young counterparts, fostering a relationship with the next generation of high school students. As we grow, the MLS groups from all schools will begin to work together to make a concerted difference in the district, state and nation. Our plan is to network with other MLS groups and tackle problems as a “thinking” team of young innovators. Through the initiation of a "service learning" elective class we can grow the program from a club to an academic force with offers credit for their hard work.

Evidence

We know that this program is successful because it has grown from one school to eleven schools in one year. We plan on networking with other counties in the state of Florida and rather than picking our own projects each year, that we team up with community and academic leaders to choose action research projects together. Through this yearly process, as a team, we can begin to make generational, socioeconomic, academic, political and ethnic connections that break down misconceptions and barriers.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

L. Elizabeth Gillam has twenty two years of experience in the same county. She taught both middle and high school English, Reading, ESOL, College and Career Prep.She has served on many curriculum building teams, served and lead the Faculty Advisory Committee and mentored first year teachers in their classroom behavioral management skills. She has always worked with challenging students and served as a dean and a Positive Alternative to Student Suspension (PASS) Coordinator. She also sponsored the Minority Leadership Scholars (MLS) and both of her programs became the models for the other high schools to follow. She holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida. She has recently transitioned out of the school setting to work in the district commissioned Minority Achievement Office, developing programs and initiatives to foster success in our minority students.

Dr. Piedra has over a quarter century experience in public school education serving as a former elementary, middle, and high school teacher, and both middle and high school administrator in urban school districts. As an adjunct professor, Dr. Piedra has taught Education Leadership Masters’ degree candidates federal and state regulations. His educational experiences allows him to perceive the continuing curriculum, K-12, to provide a seamless array of educational services designed to increase student literacy and academic performance. As a high school administrator, Dr. Piedra has analyzed academic data leading to the creation of an after school credit recovery program engineered to maximize instructional time leading to increased academic performance for underserved students with untapped potential. Working collaboratively with teachers, students, and parents, Dr. Piedra analyzed trends in student discipline and has implemented school-wide strategies designed to minimize student disciplinary disruptions and increase teacher-student contact time resulting in the attainment of Adequate Yearly Progress. Dr. Piedra has extensive experiences as an instructional leader and administrator of a large urban school serving a population of approximately 3000 students consisting of a linguistically, ethnically, and racially diverse student population with 100% participation in the Free/Reduced Lunch Program. He possesses a genuine commitment to student success and highest student achievement and works collaboratively with the educational community in all areas of school improvement.

Start Date

10-23-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

10-23-2016 11:00 AM

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Oct 23rd, 10:00 AM Oct 23rd, 11:00 AM

Minority Leadership Scholars - Young Men Of Color and Service Learning Projects Unite

The Minority Leadership Scholars program focuses on building leadership skills and academic focus in our young minority male students. Through community projects and youth mentor-ships, we hope to foster a sense of connection between our school and surrounding area, which will flow into the middle and elementary feeder schools and impact future generations.