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This year the M-Cubed program has been honored as the recipient of the
2013 Magna Award Grand Prize Winner 


 Magna Awards recognize school districts for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools.

Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va., has been named one of three grand prize winners in the 19th annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) American School Board Journal (ASBJ).
Albemarle County Public Schools was honored as the grand prize winner in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category for M-cubed: Math, Men and Mission, a program developed to improve the academic achievement of African-American male students and encourage them to enroll in higher level math classes. The program starts with a two-week summer academy for upper elementary and middle school students and extends throughout the year with mentoring and academic support from the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, a community group.
Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) addresses the needs of all students. Division data suggests that African American males are underachieving in the classrooms. In response the Superintendent of Schools and the School Board collaborated with the division’s Office of Community Engagement to establish partnerships with State Farm Insurance (funding); the University of Virginia’s School of Education (research and development support); and the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia (mentoring support) to assist in eliminating this achievement gap.
State Farm Insurance                                                      University of Virginia                    
100 Black Men of Central Virginia                                    Albemarle County Public Schools 

This partnership seeks to fulfill the division’s mission to establish a community of learners and learning, through rigor, relevance and relationships, one student at a time. In 2009, M-cubed (Math, Men, Mission), an algebra readiness initiative, was designed to provide African-American male students in grades 5-8 an opportunity to discover new ways to experience success in school. This group represents six percent of the overall student population in Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS). The program’s foundation is built around engaging African American males to become better students, better leaders and better people. The partnership provides a unique two-week summer program that builds self-confidence and self-determination through mathematics. 

State Farm, Tom Jackson; Virginia Delegate, David J.          School Board Member, Diantha McKeel;
Toscano; Mentee, Evan Coleman; 100 Black Men of            M-cubed Students; ACPS Superintendent Pam
Central Virginia, Billy Cannaday                                        Moran
Program Goals:
  1. To increase the number of African-American males enrolled in upper level math classes and have the students successfully complete the courses. 
  2. To provide a rigorous, culturally responsive pre-algebra curriculum enhanced by instructional approaches that address the learning style(s) of the
    African-American male. 
    M-Cubed 2011: The Wind Turbine Project Link
  3. To build healthy relationships between the student, his family, and the school.
  4. To establish a systemic support system for participants who successfully complete the program to realize academic success in other more challenging courses. This includes mentoring support and parental coaching.  
    Program Schedule 2012 -2013
Learning is an attitude taught through behavior and social and academic engagement. The program models the philosophy that learning becomes a more natural process when real-world problems are an integral part of curriculum and instruction. It tests the hypothesis that teacher expectations are neutralized when grade-level standards are introduced through learner preferences and student-centered settings that promote high expectations and inquiry-based approaches to teaching and learning.
Program Results
In 2008, the year before M-cubed was established; there was an 80 point achievement gap in the average math SOL scores of Albemarle County middle school African American males and white males. After two years, African American males' math scores increased from 427 to 451 (24 points) while white males increased from an average of 507 to 515 (8 points), thus reducing the achievement gap by 16 points.  Final math grades for participants have increased from an average grade of C in their first year to an average grade of B despite the increased rigor of their case load.
Based upon 2012 program data, M-cubed participants consistently out-perform AA males who do not participate in the program.  Two of every three program participants are enrolled in advanced/honors math classes compared to one out of four non-participants. Ninety percent of program participants showed year-to-year growth in Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) test scores compared to 68 percent of non-participating African-American middle school males who demonstrated similar growth in this assessment.
Using the State’s Standards of Learning assessment, 65 percent of M-cubed participants demonstrated mastery of grade level content compared to 47 percent of non-participants. Overall, M-cubed participants have shown more growth in their mathematical understanding, which further is reflected in their choice of course study.
There are 33 students, for instance, who have participated in the program in each of the past two years.  Among this group, 67 percent are enrolled in an advanced/honors level math course measured against 27 percent of their African American peers, who are not program participants.  The program’s emphasis on mentoring students to become advocates for their own learning clearly has propelled them into more rigorous math courses.  Over its four-year history, the program has provided 210 instructional seats. 

The Magna Awards, supported by Sodexo, recognize districts across the country for outstanding programs that advance student learning and encourage community involvement in schools. This year’s three grand prize, 15 first place, and 15 honorable mention winners were selected from three enrollment categories: under 5,000 students, 5,000 to 20,000 students, and over 20,000 students. This year's grand prize winners are the Derry Township School District, in Hershey, Pa., Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va., and the Fontana Unified School District in Fontana, Calif. Each of the grand prize winning school districts will receive a $4,000 contribution from Sodexo on April 14, during Sunday’s General Session at NSBA’s 73rd Annual Conference in San Diego.
“The Magna Awards showcase the great work going on in local school districts across the country to increase student achievement and success,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of NSBA. “This year’s Magna Awards recipients are national models that school leaders can learn from. NSBA commends Sodexo for its continuing support of this program and its goal of highlighting outstanding public school achievements.”
If you have questions or need assistance please contact Dr. Bernard Hairston.

Bernard Hairston, Executive Director
Office of Community Engagement
Albemarle County Public Schools
401 McIntire Road, Room 341
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Phone: 434-293-0288, ext. 1
Fax: 434-872-4564​



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