Achievement Counts needs volunteers to speak to Washington County middle and high school students

Achievement Counts needs volunteers to speak to Washington County middle and high school students

The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) needs volunteers from the Washington County business community to share their work experiences with area eighth and ninth graders and show them the connection between what they're learning in school and life in the real world.
As a volunteer speaker, you will be part of the MBRT's Achievement Counts Speakers Bureau, a nationally recognized program designed to let Maryland high school students know about the rigorous coursework they will need to take--and complete--while in high school in order to succeed after they graduate, regardless of whether they go on to college or directly into the workplace. Through their interaction, businessmen and women are able to help students see how their classes in school parallel the expectations they will meet later in life.
"Speakers Bureau volunteers motivate high school freshmen to take their learning seriously and begin planning their futures," explains MBRT Executive Director June Streckfus. "They provide students with concrete reasons why working hard in high school will enable them to get and keep the jobs they want."
According to an MBRT survey, "we're seeing strong evidence in several counties that students are taking more rigorous coursework," Streckfus adds. Ninety-seven percent of the students who the Speakers Bureau addressed last year indicated they would now attend school regularly. Ninety-six percent of those students said they would work harder in school, and 83% said they would take and complete more rigorous coursework.
MBRT plans to reach out to nearly 2,000 eighth and ninth graders in Washington County this fall. To do that, the organization estimates it will need 60 volunteers.
MBRT hopes to attract more than 2,000 volunteer speakers to help carry the message to 75,000 students in 200 middle and high schools throughout the state.
"The success of the Speakers Bureau rests on the efforts of the dedicated speakers who show students through their own experiences how taking rigorous courses and working hard will translate into broader opportunities in their personal and professional lives," notes Streckfus.
Volunteer speakers typically are asked to make four 45-minute classroom presentations during the fall semester. They are able to choose the school, dates, and times that are most convenient for them and that fit in with their work schedules. Before entering the classroom, each volunteer receives three hours of training on facilitating the Achievement Counts presentation in the classroom.
MBRT's Achievement Counts campaign has drawn high praise from educators, businesses, parents, and students and has won numerous regional and national awards (www.mbrt.org).
"It is important for those of us who have entered the working world to show these students that there is someone out there who cares about their future," says one Speakers Bureau volunteer. "It is very rewarding to witness a light bulb moment ... the moment when you see the excitement in their eyes and know that the Achievement Counts message has reached that student."
The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education is a coalition of more than 100 major Maryland employers committed to improving student achievement in the state.
To register online or get more information, visit www.mbrt.org/speak or contact LaTara Harris at 410-727-0448 or latara@mbrt.org