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BranchOut! a Proud Partner of Howard County Public School System

With the end of school, many summer programs have begun in Howard County Public School System. BranchOut! is proud to be invited back to support three HCPSS programs, namely Black Student Achievement Program, Innovative Pathways Credit Recovery/Gear Up, and Extended School Year Academic Intervention.

This is the first year that Howard County BranchOut! mentors were given the opportunity to help with the Innovative Pathways (IP) Credit Recovery/Gear Up Program. This program offers high school credit-bearing courses in various content areas to rising 9th-12th graders who need to make up a class or require support in academics. Students from numerous Howard County high schools alternate days of in-person classes at Howard High School and online synchronous classes via Google Meet.

This past week, the three BranchOut! mentors worked at Howard High School as part of the IP Credit Recovery Program by collecting and transferring materials, mentoring students who were struggling with new concepts, and supervising student activities in the classroom. Through this experience, the mentors learned the importance of being proactive in seeking out problem-solving solutions for students who need help. Because not all students have the same mindset when it comes to learning, mentors were reminded of the need to be patient, mature, and empathetic, and to practice clear communication.

Howard County BranchOut! mentors who are volunteering for the Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) Summer Institute had the opportunity to attend an in-person orientation on Thursday, June 22, 2023. BSAP is a summer program that allows K-9 students to accelerate in academic and enrichment courses. The orientation introduced the volunteers to the mission of the program and the responsibilities given as a volunteer. The tutors were also given useful tips and were taught to treat the students with care and to be patient with them. Tutors will be able to apply these tips to both their work in the program and to future tutoring opportunities. Alongside the information session, the tutors got to meet and connect with other mentors outside of the BranchOut! Community through several activities. BSAP welcomes rising juniors and seniors in the Howard County area to volunteer in the summer program, and this year over 80 student mentors are volunteering.

Extended School Year Academic Intervention is set to start on Wednesday, July 5th. It is a program designed to prepare students from grades K-12 an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming school year. A unique feature of ESY is that students get to learn in a personalized manner, which means the teaching style and study material will be unique to the student, allowing for their learning environment to be effective. BranchOut! students will teach a variety of subjects ranging from math to languages. Through this experience, BranchOut! mentors will learn to adapt to a variety of student needs, and they will gain creativity skills as they formulate unique lesson plans.

We are confident that these summer tutoring opportunities will give BranchOut! mentors a chance to form a deeper connection with their community. We are proud of our student mentors for their desire and willingness to serve while expanding their comfort zone. We look forward to a productive summer!

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