EWC: Black Male College Explorers Program
Building Their SWAG with STREAM
The Black Male College Explorers Program of Edward Waters
College in Jacksonville, Florida has developed a dynamic academic
program centered on building young Black men to
their potential as students and productive members of their communities.
Preparing these young Black men for future entrance in higher education
and careers that lead to success and leadership roles.
This summer’s theme is centered on STREAM –
Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts and Mathematics.
Each respective educational discipline has an experienced
educator that has developed hands on projects for students to
build their STREAM SWAG, Students Working to Academic Greatness.
The academic leadership has educators with years of success and experience
locally and nationally. Shonne Robinson is the Academic Coordinator, managing
the learning environment and scheduling of classes that not only educate the
young men attending, but the engagement and involvement of additional experiences
that produce a holistic learning environment. Mrs. Robinson a seasoned
educator understands the importance of a diverse educational experience
particularly for young Black men.
Mrs. Vines an educator from North Carolina is the Science teacher,
students are involved in building catapults, mechanical launchers and
devices that require mathematics and scientific skills that aid in higher
order and critical thinking skills. Reading is integrated in all aspects of
STREAM, encouraging and building a foundation of literacy and
comprehension. The strength of literacy is built on good comprehension
skills, strong readers have more success in their educational careers
than those who struggle and not reading on grade level.
Technology is integrated in the technology labs of Edward Waters
College where students are taught important research skills,
accessing the Virtual classrooms of Florida to continue their
academic progression and earning credits that can lead to early
graduation and credits towards higher education even before
graduating high school. Ms. Marilyn Mack an instructor at Edward
Waters College has been involved with BMCEP, Upward Bound
and other programs that work to build the academic and social
successes of students in Jacksonville, Florida through programs
at Florida’s oldest HBCU – EWC.
Edward Waters College is a valuable educational asset that fills
an academic and cultural void for students. Many HBCU’s provide
an atmosphere of cultural inclusion. Students that need more of
an individual, hands-on environment can find this at EWC.
Teaching at Edward Waters College as an Adjunct in the Education
Department allows me to help prepare future educators by guiding,
mentoring and supporting their passion to be educators.
EWC has many successful educators that are actively
involved in the DCPS and some are Teacher of the
Year candidates and selected as Teacher of the Year at their
respective schools. EWC may have its challenges, as other
educational institutions, the home of the Tigers is still an important
force in many areas of business, criminal justice, the arts and
Duval County Public Schools has enjoyed a great partnership with
BMCEP and Upward Bound, the students in these programs are
high academic achievers, display leadership skills in their high
schools and several are past Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Engineering and Arts program with BMCEP are heavily involved
by students in BMCEP, designing and building rockets that they will
launch at the end of the six week program. William Jackson a STEAM
educator with Duval County Public Schools, Adjunct with EWC
teaching Educational Technology in the Teacher Education
Department and nationally recognized Blogger and Speaker has a
dynamic and unique curriculum that encourages students to
use innovation, creativity and builds self esteem to model
engineering skills used in this world of high technology innovation,
creativity and continued learning.
Students are involved in individual and team projects in the
Engineering class; encouraging work with diverse groups, support
leadership skills-sets and cooperative learning as well as
Math is involved in the learning at BMCEP because of
integration in many areas of academics. Mr. Eric Jackson uses
a curriculum that builds math skills for those that are in need of
a solid foundation and those that are advanced and have a higher
level of ability they can perform individual work.
The math program helps students elevate their reasoning and
rationalization skills. Assisting these students to success not only
on state mandated assessments, but helping them prepare for
End of Year Course exams that sometimes students struggle
because of a lack of mathematics foundation. Mr. Jackson has
a talent to engage students in math that builds on previous
knowledge and extends the students abilities to build on potential
Each of these academic areas taught by seasoned and passionate
African American educators, provides an opportunity for students
to see professionals in the areas of STREAM and learn from educators
with experience in other careers. It is important that minority students
are exposed to professionals of color that are involved in areas
other than entertainment and sports. Mentoring, role models and
expectations for growth are established when faculty are diverse
in their backgrounds and bring diversity to the table when working
with African American students.
Businesses throughout Jacksonville and nationally are demanding
skills that Black Male College Explorers Program participants are
learning. 21st century students are normally taught in higher education
advanced skills, programs like BMCEP, Upward Bound and even
TeamUp with the Bridge of Northeast Florida are developing
these transformative skills early in young African American men
and women. Preparing them for careers that have not been developed
yet with technology. The fields of robotics, nano-technology, space
exploration, studying of the oceans and medical fields are not typically
studied by African Americans, because of these programs they are building a following.
Data from sources like Department of Education have shown that
learning is gained from environmental exposure and access to
professionals in careers that are making contributions to
technology, commerce, politics, economics and international
collaborations. In Jacksonville, Florida change is seen at places like
Cecil Field where technology businesses are expanding and the need
for those with technical skills are in demand. Too many jobs are
outsourced because in some fields there are not enough qualified and
skilled workers in Jacksonville and surrounding areas to be employed.
Minority youth and young adults are particularly disadvantaged
because they are not exposed nor encouraged to enter into fields
of STEM, STEAM, CSTEAM and STREAM. Minority youth in too many
cases are centered on entertainment and sports which are not as
forgiving and lack longevity and consistent employment opportunities
and even exposure to higher educational opportunities.
STREAM aids in the lowering of the achievement and educational
gaps that many minority students face. Not because these students
are academically behind, but because of lack to exposure to the content
of STREAM. The instructors of BMCEP continue to motivate and encourage
their students to greatness. Providing realistic and transformative
learning that has long term positive effects. Programs like BMCEP
are needed because of the value for education and empowerment of
cognitive growth and cultural richness.
Talking to the students in my classes I share: “We as a people
(Blacks), must embrace technology and all that it has to offer,
the potential for innovation, building self-employment skills,
self-empowerment development, and cultural enhancement
is important.” William Jackson, Black Male Explorers College Program
To emphasis the value and engagement of education I use quotes
from successful men and women of color like Mellody Hobson
the Chairman of Dreamworks Animation and wife of George Lucas,
”The education gap between African American’s and Latinos is more
pronounced in these communities than caucasians. There are more
women earning degrees than men and this translates into more
women earning higher salaries and greater roles of leadership.”
Black males must be nurtured and mentored to keep pace with
women of color or fall behind even further and loose value for their
abilities and skills.
The Black Male College Explorers Program is an at-risk prevention/
intervention program. This program is designed specifically to
prevent Black males from dropping out of high school, facilitate their
admission to college and increase their chances of earning a college degree.
The six weeks of BMCEP at EWC is an experience that will positively affect
the lives of those participating in the experience for years.
These students will carry their growth to the schools they
proudly attend in Duval County Public Schools and establish
leadership roles that are beneficial to the learning environments of
individual schools and collectively in communities throughout the
The leadership of Darren Gardner, Program Director is evident in
the success of the Black Male College Explorers Program and support from the
leadership and administration of EWC.
Photobucket Slide Show of BMCEP