When you think of  the middle level years, you immediately envision awkward physical transitions, acne, loud voices, and quirky attitudes. Then when you picture college, you see young people who are approaching adulthood, finding themselves, and ambitious about their futures. Now put these two together and you have an unlikely partnership that creates amazing opportunities. That is the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science. Being on the campus of a historically Black university helps our students appreciate their identity and think about what it means to be successful in college. Our Virtual Tour on December 8 will focus on how we work with our students to develop habits of success that include goal setting and self-directed learning.

Howard University visionaries pictured creating a pipeline to STEM careers starting at the middle level, a time when, based on research, young people make decisions about their futures. In 2005, Howard University partnered with some like-minded educators in Washington, D.C., and charted a middle level school that sits directly on Howard University’s historic campus. Young middle level children from all wards of the city step into their future as they walk across Howard’s campus, past the renowned Founder’s Library to their school building (formerly the Howard University School of Human Ecology).

Our school’s association with Howard University has provided our students with opportunities to participate in experiential learning in college-level laboratories, sit in on lectures on African American studies, and gain access to tutoring and mentoring from Howard University students. Plus, the Howard University School of Education supports our teachers with graduate-level advancement opportunities.

Through this partnership, we have been able to open doors to educational opportunities for our staff and our students. There are colleges and universities in every city, and creating partnerships like the one we have can be beneficial to your school in a variety of ways.

At 4:00 p.m. on a regular school day, it is not uncommon to see both middle level students and Howard University students walking across campus. If you ask either where they go to school, the answer will be the same: a loud and resounding “HU—You Know!”

This blog is part of NASSP’s Virtual Tour Series. Be sure to visit NASSP’s Facebook page on December 8 at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to participate in the live tour, sponsored by Surface Guard. Then, join us on December 13 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) for our Pau Hana Webchat, an informal virtual networking session to ask questions and keep the conversation going. 

Kathryn Procope is head of school at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science in Washington, D.C., and a 2020 NASSP Digital Principal of the Year. Follow her on Twitter (@kprocopeHU_MS2).

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