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Program helps young men succeed in school, with both behavior and academics

Making The Grade: Students who participate agree the program has made a difference.
Men of Standard started about two years ago with about 14 students, and has now grown to 50.
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 9:44 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) teacher Mario Torrence says he is the product of a bunch of mentors.

That’s the reason he is focusing on the group called Men of Standard - a group that helps male students succeed in their behavior and academics.

Torrence works at Governors Village Stem Academy as a math teacher and leader of Men of Standard.

Men of Standard started about two years ago with about 14 students, and has now grown to 50.

Torrence says the program is working.

“This time we had I think close to 20 guys on the A/B Honor Roll,” Torrence said. “A lot of young men - this was their first time they had academic success - just with support we have provided - just with tutoring.”

Students who participate in Men of Standard agree the program has made a difference.

Making The Grade: Students who participate agree the program has made a difference.

“It’s been a lot of bad influences around me in my life,” Men of Standard student Prince Crutchfield said. “And I’m just glad I get to be surrounded by Mr. Torrence and principals and all this type of stuff - it’s really awesome.”

Crutchfield joined Men of Standard two years ago.

“A couple of years ago I was not the best student,” Crutchfield said. “I was really not getting the best grades. I didn’t have the best attitude.”

In Men of Standard, Torrence goes over a plan for success for each student. They go over expectations and use a red folder so students can keep track of their grades and behavior in each class.

If students do well – they get rewarded.

Torrence says it takes a group effort to make Men of Standard a success.

“It was a lot of young men who needed that gap filled in,” Torrence said. “And luckily we had enough staff members who wanted to help, and we were all like-minded, so we just jumped in and it grew from there.”

Torrence is also an 8th-grade math teacher. He says he connects with students and explains those complicated math problems.

“I’ll show them the formula,” Torrence said. “And I tell them if you need to write it down - write it down, but I’m going to show you why it works, and we are going to do an example and a diagram to prove why it works and a lot of time that works better.”

His other plan to help close the achievement gap is being able to meet students where they are.

“I teach 8th grade,” Torrence said. “But I know this is a 4th-grade standard. We need to go back and learn this – a lot of times that gap gets bigger because it’s not filled in. If it’s not filled in, it gets larger and larger. You are in 12th grade and you are still looking for that 4th-grade standard that you don’t know.”

Governors Village STEM Academy has a grade of a “C” from the state. Crutchfield believes what’s being done at his school can possibly help those schools that are low-performing.

“I think that if schools can offer extra help and tutoring and get to understand our students a little bit more,” Crutchfield said. “Well that they will be able to succeed more.”

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