Students March Through Rockville to Close Achievement Gap (Video & Photos)

Hundreds of student members of the Minority Scholars Program hit the streets on April 27 to raise awareness about the academic achievement gap among Black and Hispanic students in the classroom.

The  march brought local students, teachers, and leaders together through the streets of Rockville from the Carver Educational Services Center to the former Montgomery County Courthouse, turning heads with the long line of marchers along the way.

“We are fighting for a change within ourselves,” said Arielle George, a student leader with the Walter Johnson High School Minority Scholars Program. “It’s more than just getting good grades and being known for that, it’s about getting good grades and being proud that you were able to do that as a minority student and defying all other odds that were put against you.”

The Minority Scholars Program was launched eight years ago as a student-driven initiative whose primary objective is to bring an end to the academic achievement gap among minority students in Montgomery County. The organization has chapters at 10 high schools and membership continues to expand to additional schools. 

The Minority Scholars Program is not funded by the Montgomery County Public School system, it is funded by members and supporters and occasionally by grants.

“To be honest, we scrape and claw and pull from our pockets and spend a lot of time above and beyond,” said Michael Williams, a social studies teacher and one of the founders of the Minority Scholars Program. “We also asked a lot of favors from friends.”

Williams said MSP programs at some schools were able to use a money from the minority achievement mini-grant to help, but that most were not able to or did not have any grant funding.

Buses to transport students to and from the march as well as use of facilities were provided by MCPS, according to Williams.

Local businesses and organizations including American Institute for Research, Identity Inc., Impact Silver Spring, Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company, Planet Cotton, and So Fresh Entertainment helped support the cost of t-shirts and banners for the march.

Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr believes the walk will help bring the issue to the community.

“This is awareness raising. We talk about gaps all the time but it’s one thing when we talk about it at the board table but it’s another thing when kids who are actually in our classrooms everyday are talking about it and leading the work so it’s just a really wonderful thing to see,” Starr said.

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Hundreds of student members of the Minority Scholars Program hit the streets on April 27 to raise awareness about the academic achievement gap among Black and Hispanic students in the classroom. The  march brought local students, teachers, and leaders together through the streets of Rockville from the Carver Educational Services Center to the former Montgomery County […]

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).

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