Group/Team Honoree Achieve Success Together (Howard)
The Achieve Success Together (AST) team is composed of current and former Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) students who are dedicated to ensuring all students, regardless of background or circumstance, are able to receive equitable support in achieving their academic goals. Achieve Success Together was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Team category for their service instilling passion and a love for learning in students.
AST was founded in 2016 through the creation of the AST Enrich program, where high school students instructed younger students in subjects such as public speaking and writing. AST soon opened a second program, AST Shine, where elementary school students who are part of the FARM or ESOL programs were able to receive small group tutoring at no cost. Since its establishment, over 250 FARM and ESOL students have been served, with over 100 student volunteers engaging in the program.
During the coronavirus pandemic, AST launched two new programs: AST Solo and AST Summer. AST Solo was launched after schools closed in March, offering free, virtual one-on-one tutoring for students for a month. The program worked to provide extra support for students outside of the classroom in lieu of the lost in-person support from teachers. In June, AST launched AST Summer to offer virtual summer enrichment opportunities for students to explore new interests despite cancelled in-person activities. AST also allocated 20% of its revenue towards financial aid for students to ensure that its mission of equitable education was reflected in this new environment. In the AST Summer program, students were able to attend classes such as creative writing, math, and science due to this allocation of funds.
Achieve Success Together, in a collaborative effort with the HCPSS and Howard County government, has strived to close opportunity gaps among minority and disadvantaged students. AST’s efforts helped to encourage communication between minority families and HCPSS by building greater trust between the two parties. Additionally, the parents of AST’s students have stated that students thoroughly enjoy their time with their tutors and instructors, and oftentimes, they are yearly-returners and have recommended classes to their family and friends. In particular, AST offered a community service class this summer, in which students created their own passion project and learned invaluable problem-solving and leadership skills while serving the community; one student spent their time donating food and raising money for those impacted by COVID-19 financially.
Written in large part by the nominator. Learn more at https://www.achievesuccesstogether.org/.