Homewood’s Black Student Achievement Program


Tiffany Smith, Staff Writer

Today I interviewed Ms. Ebanks and Ms. Raymond. Ms. Ebanks is the former transition specialist here at the Homewood Center, and is now the IEP team coordinator. Ms. Raymond is a mental health therapist in the Gateway program. The goal of my interview was to gather more information to help students learn about a new program at Homewood, The Black Student Achievement Program.  

Pictured: Ms. Ebanks (right)  is a co-advisor for the BSAP with Ms. Jena Raymond,  (left).

What are the goals of the Black Student Achievement Program? 

The ultimate goal of the HCPSS BSAP is to help black students excel as leaders, conquer challenges of the 21st century and become college and career ready upon high school graduation. BSAP staff encourage students and parents to strive for report card grades that are a B or above in all courses.


What benefits does the Black Student Achievement Program offer to students?

 The program offers enrichment opportunities for students that include after school programs for elementary age students grades 3-5. They also have community based learning centers to provide enrichment and cultural based activities for attendees. The program has a Saturday Math Academy that offers academic achievement for students in grades 3-12 that need additional support in their math courses. They have a summer enrichment program for students in elementary to high school. They offer a Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement Program (MESA) in extended day for students interested within these areas. 


How can students get recognized through/by the Black student achievement program?

Celebration of Academic Achievement honors students who are currently in grades 4 – 9 and have achieved the following levels of academic success during the prior academic school year as 3rd through 8th graders:

  • Grades 4 – 6: students earned As or Bs in all areas of mathematics AND Language Arts in all 4 quarters and did not receive any Ds or Es in any of the following subjects – language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health education for all 4 quarters
  • Grades 7 – 9: Students earned As or Bs in English, mathematics, science, and social studies in all 4 quarters.
  • Also, in the 12th grade, students are recognized by The Council of Elders and Black Student Achievement Program with a g.p.a of 3.0 or above for their high school career.  Gloria Washington was the founder of the BSAP program and in memory of her a senior who has demonstrated the Most Improved receives an award.
  • Here at the Homewood Center the program offers the opportunity for students to be recognized on a quarterly basis for emulating the 6 P’s. 
  • The program is starting it’s first ever senior achievement awards this school year . These awards are called the Patricia Branner Pierce-Award and is given to a student exhibiting the qualities of a leader. The Next Level Award is awarded to a student exhibiting the most improvement. 


Who runs the Black Student Achievement Program?

Ashley Armstead and Nicole Brown are the BSAP Specialists.  At Homewood, the two sponsors are Sharonda Ebanks and Jena Raymond and they are supported by Kimesha Brown, Danielle Daughton and Shawanda Evans with initiatives at Homewood Center.


Does the Black Student Achievement Program work with other schools and administrators in Howard County?

Yes, the BSAP works with all 12 high school liaisons, school-based administrators, community partners, student services and the BSAP Coordinators (leaders of the program). 


How long will the Black Student Achievement program be in place?

The Black Student Achievement program began in 1986 and the plan is for it to continue within the Howard County school system.


Can students get support or help through the Black Student Achievement program?

Yes, students can be supported by the BSAP program.  For support, contact Ms. Ebanks or Ms. Raymond.


Is there anything else important that you feel Students should know about the Black Student Achievement Program?

The HCPSS Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) works to close the achievement gap evident in the patterns of data between black students and the student population at large. Over the years the BSAP, established in 1986, has been a valuable resource to the school system, black students, their parents and the community. Through a coordinated system of services, BSAP guides black students to develop education, career and personal/social competencies.