Eliminating Academic Barriers Outside of the Classroom: MaLika McGowan and Agape

After working in various roles with Agape for two years, MaLika McGowan developed a eagerness to become a supportive asset to students outside of the classroom. When the opportunity to become a School Based Connector presented itself, she knew she had found the chance to do so.

“As a young child, I had support from my educators and family,” McGowen said. In this day and time, many children are attending school with limited or a lack of support system to aid with academic attainment.”

“As a School Based Connector, I get to take my impact beyond the classroom; not to be a teacher, but to be a helping hand to school administrators, teachers, students, and parents.”

In partnership with Shelby County Schools and the Achievement School District, Agape’s school based initiative (Stars) identifies and eliminates barriers related to academic success, such as attendance, student behavior, parental engagement, etc.

“As School Based Connectors, we work in tandem with teachers to pinpoint areas that may be challenging for students,” McGowen said. “Once those obstacles are revealed, we tackle them head on.”

“Whether it’s a student acting out or a student having a difficult time with their literacy levels, we are there to ask the right questions and find the right solutions.”

“Stars” is present in various underserved areas in the Mid-South, including Hickory Hill, Raleigh, Frayser, and Whitehaven. Through the “connector’s” steadfast leadership and devotion, a positive ripple effect has taken place both in and out of school.

  • “Children served by Agape have acceptable attendance of 90-95%”
  • “More than 70% of parents demonstrated an increased investment in their children’s academic outcomes by participating in school meetings and functions”
  • “There is nearly a 10% performance increase in literacy and proficiency in math, science, and other related subjects”

“We may not be teachers, but we are still making a difference,” McGowen said. “Being able to observe the progress the student makes from start to finish not only impacts their lives, but it impacts ours.”

Learn more about Agape’s “Stars” initiative here.