Less than a year ago, 60 ninth- and 10th-grade boys walked across Worthing High School’s cafeteria stage, signifying their acceptance into the inaugural class of HISD’s Miles Ahead Scholars (MAS) program.
Now, just 10 months after that moving induction ceremony, a new evaluation conducted by the district’s Research and Accountability Department showcases the positive academic and socioemotional impacts the program has had on its first cohort. The full report can be found here.
“I am so excited to share this with our young men, because they were there at the schools doing great work even before Miles Ahead was created,” Miles Ahead Scholars Program Director Haskel Harvey said. “Now they have a positive narrative that showcases what they were creating and are continuing to create through this program.”
Over the last year, the MAS program, which launched in October 2019 with the support of Sen. Borris Miles and through a Texas Education Agency Student Success Initiative (SSI) Community Engagement Grant, focused on the academic programming and mentorship of young men of color from Wheatley, Worthing, and Kashmere high schools. Scholars were mentored by men of color in the community and received one-on-one advising and academic support from instructional specialists and program managers.
According to the report, when compared to students from comparable schools who did not participate in the MAS program, MAS scholars had a higher mean cumulative GPA, higher attendance rates, and lower incidences of in- and out-of-school suspensions.
“Initiatives like the Miles Ahead Program have made great strides in closing the achievement gaps for our young men of color,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “As our students face unprecedented challenges outside the classroom, we remain committed to making every resource available to them.”
Along with academic support, the MAS program is dedicated not only to preparing young men of color for college but also building their confidence to do so.
“Growing up, I didn’t always have access to the things I needed, and I don’t think going to college would be a possibility if I didn’t get into Miles Ahead,” Wheatley High School rising junior Jakory Johnson said. “Not only has the program given me the opportunity to get into college, it has definitely given me the confidence to try.”
Harvey said without the support of campus leaders and the local communities, the program’s recent success would not be possible. To raise awareness and attract more students and families to the program, MAS will soon kick off the #MyNeighborhoodMySchool campaign, which celebrates the three historic Houston neighborhoods (Trinity Gardens, Fifth Ward, and Sunnyside) and schools that are helping MAS create the next generation of leaders.
“We may be a district program with a targeted group of students, but we belong to the schools and the community. This wouldn’t be possible without them creating space for us,” Harvey said. “We belong to Wheatley and the Fifth Ward community, Kashmere and the Kashmere/Trinity Gardens community. We belong to Worthing and the Sunnyside community.”
Looking ahead, the MAS Program is inviting students from Wheatley, Worthing, and Kashmere high schools to join the Class of 2024 cohort. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the program can contact Harvey at Haskey.Harvey@HoustonISD.org.