It’s often said that education is a matter of life and death. In Baltimore, educators are reminded of this reality far too often, as violent incidents have struck home among students at an unprecedented rate. While many would give up under such trying circumstances, Principal Tammatha Woodhouse has been recognized for striking back with support and inspiration for her scholars at Excel Academy. Key to Woodhouse’s strategy is recruiting “cheerleaders to keep pushing them on,” as she shared with the Baltimore Sun back in May, as the school finished out a year in which five students fell victim to violence. In my former role as executive director of college and career readiness for Baltimore City Public Schools, I shared in the district’s pride as we honored Ms. Woodhouse with a “Heart of the School” award, sponsored by the Fund for Educational Excellence.
Woodhouse has worked vigorously to establish strategic partnerships and opportunities for her students and staff. Along with integrating the arts to increase student engagement, Ms. Woodhouse has worked effectively with the non-profit organization I recently joined, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT), to secure business professionals as long-term mentors for her students.
Beyond our intuition and experience, research has validated the benefits of youth mentorship. Youth facing opportunity gaps but having a mentor have been shown to be 55% more likely to enroll in college than their peers without a mentor (The Mentoring Effect, 2014). In addition, mentored youth tend to have better school attendance and better attitudes toward school (The Role of Risk, 2013).
Given these benefits, educators like Woodhouse and partners like MBRT and its board member business partner Northrop Grumman, have been wise to recruit and engage mentors from around Baltimore and Maryland.
This past Friday, October 6th, Northrop Grumman stepped up to Ms. Woodhouse’s request, launching its African American Task Group (AATG) employee resource group’s mentoring initiative to support Excel Academy students throughout this school year.
This type of interaction has been shown to have a positive impact not only on students’ school engagement, but even on their future earnings. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Education and Work, students who recalled at least four school-mediated employer interactions between ages 14-19 earned 18% more in salary three years out of high school than students who could not recall such interactions.
In addition to Northrop Grumman’s initiative, MBRT’s approach to implementing the state’s new Next Gen Scholars grant program provides the long-term engagement shown to be a mentorship best practice, to encourage and support young adults to explore and pursue a variety of ‘pathways to prosperity.’
On November 13th, MBRT will celebrate educators and partners from around Maryland at its 26th Annual Meeting. We welcome you to join us (e-mail me at email@example.com for an invitation – a limited number of educators can attend at no cost), and to nominate an educator, school partner, or workforce volunteer for our 2017 MBRT Leadership in Education Partnerships award (click here to submit a nomination). We know students across Maryland need the support of public, private, and non-profit partners to fulfill their dreams and goals, and we look forward to partnering with you.
If you are an educator and would like to request an in-class presentation by one of our trained volunteers, click here to learn more and to submit your request. If you are or know of a business professional who would like to volunteer, click here to learn more or to volunteer.