An after-school program to improve the academic performance of African American male students at Greencastle Elementary School has won a new state award that honors programs and individuals who make outstanding contributions to promoting equity in educational opportunity for all students.
The Greencastle I.B.M. (Intelligent Black Males) mentoring-tutoring program received the Nancy S. Grasmick Excellence for Minority Achievement Award in a ceremony at the Maryland State Board of Education in Baltimore on May 26.
The I.B.M. program, now in its ninth year, recruits volunteer mentors/tutors to work individually with students and provides speakers for weekly meetings to improve the academic performance and involvement of the students. The volunteers are all African American men from a variety of professions, such as engineering, law and business.
"We were honored to be recognized by the State Department of Education as a group that has volunteered much time and energy to encourage excellence among young African-American males," says Tamar Ridenour Hines, a third grade teacher, who co-coordinates the program with Earl Myers, Jr., a fifth grade teacher.
Currently, about 30 students participate in I.B.M., which is open to all African American male students in grades three through five. In addition to mentoring and tutoring, the program offers information on various careers and opportunities to increase skills and self-esteem by helping students find their abilities and talents.
Earlier this year, the program received a $1,500 grant from Pfizer, Inc., a research-based pharmaceutical company. The grant will cover field trip expenses, end-of-year awards for participating students and other costs for maintaining the program.
The Nancy S. Grasmick Excellence for Minority Achievement Awards were established this year by the Maryland State Education That Is Multicultural Advisory Council.