YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In an effort to support social justice and improvement to school climate and culture, the Youngstown City School District and McDonald’s franchisee HLW Fast Track Inc. have partnered for the Current Scholars, Future Leaders Initiative.
For the program, East High School, McGuffey Elementary School and Wilson Elementary School will implement “unconventional, experimental and evidence-based learning and leading practices,” according to a press release. The goal is to address long-existing fault lines of educational inequality, broader access and the creation of new pathways to bring the community out of poverty, according to the release.
“The Current Scholars, Future Leaders Initiative will help our schools with the support they need for incorporating continuous improvement strategies for academic success,” said Justin Jennings, YCSD CEO. “The initiative will provide student opportunities beyond our scholars’ K-12 experience here in the Youngstown City School District.”
Economic and social disparities “tear at the fabric of democracy and civil society,” the district states. By developing learning experiences outside of the district’s buildings and classroom walls, students will have opportunities to attend business seminars, career shadowing, employment and on-the-job manager training.
Herb Washington, CEO of HLW Fast Track, said it is the responsibility of the community to “roll up our sleeves” to expand the bandwidth within Youngstown City Schools. Washington owns McDonald’s restaurants throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“This is just the beginning of a broader partnership where the scholars can work and develop real-world skills and application toward positive life experiences,” Washington said. “In light of the COVID 19 Pandemic, we are poised to maximize our resources to impact and improve the lives of the YCSD scholars.”
On a broader scale, the partnership deepens self-knowledge and self-worth, as well as serves as a means to solve social problems by helping students become critical thinkers about the trajectory of their lives and family as early as middle school, adds Rick Fox, principal at Wilson Elementary.
“Our social justice work is work toward teaching and guiding our scholars toward brighter futures,” Fox said.
Pictured: Herb Washington, CEO of HLW Fast Track; Aaron Bouie, principal of McGuffey Elementary School; Maurice Taylor, principal of East High School; and Rick Fox, principal of Wilson Elementary School, posing at a McDonald’s restaurant. HLW Fast Track is partnering with YCSD on The Current Scholars, Future Leaders Initiative.