Back-to-School: Meadowbrook’s Success Program jumpstarts productive years from students

As the start of school approaches for the 2013-2014 academic year, getting a good start is essential for any student. Many schools have what is a called a “Success” program, which typically identifies potentially at-risk youth and provides them with an opportunity to get off to a good start, along with learning valuable lessons through helping their community. Over the past two years, few schools have seen as large a surge in the success of such programs as Meadowbrook High School has.

“These programs help to indentify potentially at-risk youth and help to give them a solid start in school,” explained Matt Bland, coordinator of the MBK Success program. “We want every student to succeed.”

School officials attribute much success to these programs at county schools – programs that have driven success of the state mandated Standard of Learning tests (SOLs) and have helped lower retention rates from grade to grade, boosting graduation rates.

Bland co-founded his first success program at Manchester alongside Ted Jones in 2000 and continued the program when he moved to L.C. Bird in 2004. The program flourished at Bird, meeting AYP standards (Adequate Yearly Progress) according to the Federal program No Child Left Behind, for seven years straight along with Midlothian. Bland moved to Meadowbrook in 2012. This season, he will also serve as the team’s defensive line coach on the football field.

“We’re glad to have such a great teacher and motivator on the staff at Meadowbrook,” said Troy Taylor, Meadowbrook football head coach. “He’s done so much for the kids in the classroom and on the field in the last 20 years.

In Meadowbrook’s Jumpstart Program in 2012, freshman in the program had one of the highest pass rates on the Earth Science I and World History I at 97.7 percent. Meadowbrook success program attendees also celebrated one of the highest pass rates on the Geometry SOL at 91.3 percent. Additionally the promotion rate for freshman to sophomore years rose from 83 percent (right around state average) to 97 percent over the span of a year.

“The kids at Meadowbrook are awesome,” stated Bland. “The success program proves that all students can excel if they are given the resources to meet the high expectations placed on them.”

Not only do the students have access to tutoring, homework help, checks and balances on getting assignments done, and help with accountability, but a big part of the program is also to learn to give back to the community. Through the program, students have gotten to perform a variety of community oriented tasks, including working with disabled athletes that participated in the Virginia Victory Games, and most recently working with Microsoft employees, learning how to refurbish computers donated by the VA STAR Program so that families at Falling Creek Elementary school can have access to a computer at home.

“It’s about balance, and giving these students a sense of pride,” said Bland. “They have excelled in the classroom, on SOLs and in the community and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Under Bland, the MBK success program will look to continue to thrive. For more information on programs like these, contact your school office or visit www.successprogrammbk.org.

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