It's more than just a guy thing.
This school year in the Mansfield School District, T.A. Howard Middle School launched its own Men of Tomorrow (MOT) program. However, the program has been around since 2011 at Legacy High School, and Ashley Brown, creator of the program, said more expansion is on the horizon.
"I am passionate about Men of Tomorrow because this program allows me to do what I love to do, equip students with transferable skills that will help them obtain their goals and reach their desired success no matter the path they chose," Brown said.
The MOT program will complete it's second graduating class in 2018, the first being in 2014.
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Brown said that while the purpose of the all-male program is to educate young men academically, socially, and individually, it also enforces positive skills parents are instilling at home. It's all about advancing in life, he said.
"Throughout the MOT journey, these young men learn to take ownership of their education and develop the mental, emotional and physical tools needed to achieve and succeed in life," he said.
Brown is ecstatic about the program expanding to T.A. Howard. He said the expansion is not going to stop there.
"When the program was started, the founders and I worked thoroughly to create a blueprint that can be customized to fit the individual needs of other campuses," he said. "We strived to expand within the district by promoting the program to community leaders, administrators in the district, and through community service projects. And we have."
And now, he said the program is on the verge of expanding beyond the MISD.
"We are finalizing plans to start an after-school program in Lancaster ISD, and we welcome the opportunity to speak to any other school interested in starting another chapter of Men of Tomorrow," Brown said.
Brown came up with the idea after he was hired at Legacy High School in 2010 as a co-educational freshman English teacher. Midway through that school year, he said he and the students who would become the introductory MOT class recognized the connections forming and benefits, so he created a way for the growth to continue academically and individually.
With the help of friends, he drafted a proposal to start a single-gender English class at Legacy. Two weeks later, he was approved to create the program.
"Since MOT at Mansfield Legacy High School is an English class, it allows young men the freedom to explore literature openly from a male’s perspective and to recognize the profound role literature plays in forming young men who are mature, articulate, and knowledgeable citizens," Brown said.
Students are still in a co-ed setting for their elective classes, said Brad Schilder, assistant principal at T.A. Howard, which has expanded the program to include math, science and Texas history in their school.
"They walk the halls in a co-ed setting between classes and they eat in a co-ed setting during lunch," Schilder said.
Seventh-grader Sebastian Haros said of the program: “I like Men of Tomorrow because I feel like I get more done. It’s different because I can relate more to the teachers and feel free to be myself around my classmates. I like having a male mentor to guide me through school and life.”
Brown said as long as young men are not afraid to challenge themselves in new ways, the program will continue to grow. He said it takes committing to the ongoing transformation during their high school years.
"Providing that opportunity has been and will continue to be my goal for the Legacy program and its expansion," Brown said.