Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders
Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders (MTL) is a peer-to-peer mentoring and student leadership program that serves youth who are at-risk for not graduating and/or remaining in school.
The program aims to decrease dropout rates, particularly among minority males, to ensure successful school graduation.
Pillars of Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders
Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders is based on the following Five Pillars:
- Academic Achievement – Students in 9th and 10th grade who earned below a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) are assigned an Academic Coach (a caring adult) and student mentor. Ongoing support includes a study hall for learning academic skills in a quiet, structured environment at least twice per week. The coach and mentor provide monitoring to set goals for increasing academic progress.
- Mentoring –High achieving upperclassmen (3.0 GPA or above) with demonstrated leadership skills participate in a two-year mentor relationship with students who have earned less than a 2.0 GPA. This is a structured relationship that is facilitated by MTL program staff. All MTL students are connected to adult role models and mentors from the community during monthly workshops with guest speakers.
- Family Involvement – MTLparents and guardians attend monthly parent education workshops to cover topics such as graduation requirements, grading, stages of adolescent development, academic needs of adolescents.
- Community Support – Community members volunteer to serve as adult mentors and role models, guest speakers at parent and student workshops, as well as donors, sponsors and members of the MTL Advisory Board. Representatives from colleges interact with MTL students to present pathways for post-secondary education.
- Incentives – Program participants earn several incentives as they work to improve their grades and meet high school graduation requirements. Student mentors also earn incentives as they inspire their peers to achieve academic excellence. These incentives include visits to local colleges, college tour field trips throughout Florida, and recognition within the school and community.
During the 2007-2008 school year, under the leadership of Amalia Pares-Pomerantz, concerned high school educators at Plantation High School formed a professional learning community to address the academic needs of African American male students. This group became AAMSA– African American Male Student Achievement group; members included Shirley Baker, Diana Carter, Arlene Galarza, Wayne Johnson, Paul Kantorski, Patricia Lesesne, Dona McKenzie, Jeanne Pellegrino, Frank Pinkney, and Teresa Young. During the following school year, after much exploration of effective intervention strategies by the group, Shirley Baker suggested a mentoring model through which low-achieving African American male freshmen would be paired with high achieving upperclassmen in a mentor-mentee relationship as a means to promote and increase academic achievement. This model was enthusiastically embraced and implemented by the group and through the diligence, tenacity, and creativity of educator Shirley Baker, Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders (MTL), was birthed and received its name.
In the first year of the program, over forty high achieving, African American male Plantation High School students volunteered to become MTL mentors and began to work with their mentees. The following year, educator Patricia Lesesne, further developed the program with clearly established guidelines and prescriptive programmatic cycles, and successfully launched MTL at Boyd H. Anderson High School. The principal and administrative staff at Boyd H. Anderson fully supported the implementation of the model. To date, MTL mentees at Boyd H. Anderson have reported improvements in GPA from below 1.8 up to 3.0 (or higher) within one quarter of a school year. The mentors and parents at Boyd H. Anderson have reported an increase in confidence and leadership skills among the mentors, and one hundred percent of the first group of black, male mentors at Boyd H. Anderson High School are now enrolled in four-year colleges or universities.
While AAMSA/MTL was working to improve the academic success of African American male students at Boyd H. Anderson and Plantation High Schools, the BCPS High School Graduation Rate Task Force, headed by Dr. Laurel E. Thompson, Director of Student Services, was working diligently to identify strategies to improve the high school graduation rate within the district. MTL was recognized as one viable model to be utilized for increasing the graduation rate. This model was written into a proposal for a 5-year grant for $4.5 million from the USDOE High School Graduation Initiative (HSGI).
On September 30, 2010, BCPS was notified that the Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders Project was one of twenty-four projects in the nation to be awarded the HSGI grant. This grant allowed for the MTL model to be fully implemented at Boyd H. Anderson High School and Plantation High School – schools that met the USDOE’s guidelines for dropout rates.
Since its inception, the MTL model has been embraced by Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) and the community. Many other schools across the District have replicated the program. In 2014, BCPS received a $200,000 grant for the Minority Male Mentoring Initiative (MMMI) from the Florida Department of Education. The grant provided Deerfield Beach and Nova High Schools the opportunity to expand their MTL Programs. The grant also supported a partnership between BCPS and Broward College that allowed program participants the opportunity to interact with college students who served as mentors and role models, thus helping students make a successful transition from high school to college and/or the workforce.
With the sunset of the grant from USDOE’s High School Graduation Initiative, BCPS has decided to fund the MTL program, which now has 25 schools including two elementary schools.
(2017/18) Schools for Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders
- Blanche Ely HS
- Boyd Anderson HS
- Coconut Creek HS
- Coral Springs HS
- Deerfield Beach HS
- Douglas, Stoneman HS
- Hallandale HS
- Miramar HS
- Northeast HS
- Nova HS
- Plantation HS
- South Broward HS
- Stranahan HS
- Taravella, J.P. HS
- Attucks MS
- Crystal Lake MS
- Deerfield Beach MS
- Forest Glen MS
- Margate MS
- Nova MS
- Plantation MS
- Ramblewood MS
- Seminole MS