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The Council of Elders Partnership Nurtures and Recognizes Black Student Achievement

March 12th, 2021

Since 1992, a partnership between The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County and the Howard County Public School System has cultivated academic success and leadership qualities and promoted responsibility and community service among HCPSS Black students.

The partnership agreement was recently updated and signed by HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, Executive Director Program Innovation and Student Well-Being Caroline Walker, The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County Chair Towanda Brown, and Education, History and Culture Committee Chair Earl Owens.

Under the terms of the agreement, members of The Council of Elders collaborate with HCPSS to create and maintain a school system environment where all students are recognized, supported, strengthened, and empowered to meet and exceed high standards of academic excellence and student citizenship.

Leaders of both organizations meet regularly to review achievement trends, consider contributing issues, and provide input, strategies, and recommendations for increasing academic performance levels among Black students and eliminating the achievement gap. Initiatives include accelerating inclusion in Gifted & Talented and Advanced Placement courses, increasing attendance and graduation rates, and reducing disproportionately high suspension and/or dropout rates among Black students.

The Council of Elders also collaborates with HCPSS to offer after-school and summer programs for students and Community Academies, which include a variety of workshops covering topics of interest to students and parents. The organization will continue to recognize and celebrate Black student achievement by sponsoring the annual Celebration of Excellence and Celebration of Achievement programs. The Celebration of Excellence recognizes graduating seniors with a 3.0 or higher grade point average, while the Celebration of Achievement highlights students across the system who have performed well on county and state assessments.

The Council of Elders of the Black Community of Howard County works to support educational, cultural and social opportunities for the Howard County Black Community that result in a confident, aware Community and optimum success in the Black family.

The Howard County Public School System’s Partnerships Office has united schools with more than 1,000 businesses and community organizations to enhance the educational experience of Howard County students. Partnerships benefit schools, businesses and the entire community by leveraging the resources of all participants. Partners may commit human or financial resources or other support.