Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maryland Out-of-School Time Network's Advocacy Night

Rashard, Zybriah, Del. Tarrant

Last week, our Higher Achievement Baltimore team attended the Maryland Out-of-School Time Network (MOST) advocacy night in Annapolis. MOST organized the event to bring together OST providers from across Maryland to highlight the importance of afterschool and summer programs – and to raise awareness and mobilize support for two pieces of legislation being considered by the Maryland General Assembly during this legislative session.

Ashburton 7th grade scholars Zybriah Murphy and Rashard Gilliard met with Delegate Shawn Tarrant (District 40) to discuss the importance of OST programs like Higher Achievement to youth in Maryland. Zybriah recalled that during one of her classes her teacher introduced a concept that Zybriah had already learned in Higher Achievement’s Summer Academy. She emphasized to the Delegate that students need extra support and opportunities to succeed during the critical middle school years. She also recognized that the hard work she does at Higher Achievement will pay off when she is ready to explore her high school options.

Rashard’s literature mentor, Mr. Andre Wood, was also on hand and described the rich discussion that Higher Achievement literature lessons have inspired between Rashard and his fellow scholars. He described the deep and sticky cultural issues that scholars might not have a chance to explore in school, such as the 19th century policy that took Indian children from their families and placed them in white schools in an attempt to assimilate them and destroy Indian culture. Mr. Andre, an employee of Constellation Energy, is one of 90 Baltimore citizens who have committed to one night a week of mentoring middle school scholars and supporting their academic enrichment in preparation for top high school programs.

Thanks for MOST for organizing the event and for their continued work advocating for OST programs – read more about their efforts and the upcoming legislation here.

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