The BEAM project develops and nurtures excellence in black adolescent males entering grades 3rd to 8th. 


The main goal of the BEAM project is to prepare young African-American males to be Pittsburgh Promise ready by the time they enter 9th grade. 

  • BEAM employs effective strategies designed to encourage them to reach their academic, social and leadership potential. These include character and social development workshops, enhancement of life-learning skills, one-on-one and/or group engagement activities, additional school connection and support, and attendance at school meetings.
  • BEAM offers a set of developmental tasks relating to academic, physical, cognitive, self, social, and emotional benchmarks through which the individual progresses as a part of normal development.
  • BEAM utilizes the asset approach to allow those qualities/benchmarks to assist in the description of normal adolescent behavior. Participants engage in a process of developmental impact domains to inspire and challenge them to become life-long learners.


Empowerment and confidence is encouraged throughout the process (coaching/facilitation); leading toward self-reflective responsibilities once services have ended. 
All activities will provide Leadership, Opportunity, Voice, and Empowerment (L.O.V.E.)


I. Leadership    
• Character and Cultural Development
• Social and Emotional Awareness
• Culture of High Expectations and Caring

II. Opportunity
• Transition Preparedness
• College and Career Readiness
• Workforce and Business Pathway

III. Voice
• Advocacy
• Self-Confidence
• Self-Management

IV. Empowerment
• Resiliency     
• Supportive Interactions
• Connectedness and Bonding

Graduate Great

Program area of focus.

  • Live in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, continuously, without interruption, for at least the four years of high school.
  • Attend Pittsburgh Public Schools, continuously, without interruption, from at least the beginning of 9th grade, and through to graduation.
  • Graduate with a cumulative, un-weighted GPA of 2.5 or better.
  • Maintain an attendance record of 90%.
  • Use your scholarship at an accredited college, university, or trade and technical school in Pennsylvania.
  • File the FAFSA ( and state grant form ( by April 30th each year for the financial aid year that begins the following fall.

Structural Inequality

Structural inequality has had a severe and negative impact on black men and boys, especially in regards to the achievement gaps between black and white public school students (United States Department of Education in 2011):

  • In Allegheny County, African-American male achievement begins to decline as early as the fourth grade. In 2010, only 42.8 percent of black males graduated from high school, compared to 70.8 percent for Caucasian males. 
  • Adolescent African-American males are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with conduct disorder than Caucasian males.
  • Young Black men in Allegheny County and across America score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to literacy rates, graduation and college preparedness. 
  • 52% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white and Asian students.
  • Nationally, African American male students in grades K-12 were nearly 2½ times as likely to be suspended from school in 2008 as white students.
  • Only 13% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read.

Project Goals and Results

There are racially distinct outcomes in black adolescent male achievement and discriminatory practices toward black adolescent boys. The cultural differences on performance outcomes and increased dropout rates and poorly-designed disciplinary practices help to generate disproportionate suspension rates for black boys. The experience has been that most institutions with high populations of black adolescent males are ill-equipped to deal with issues like poverty, well-being, discrimination, and negative peer culture; which may extrinsically have a negative effect on their behavior. 

When we increase social accountability for discipline and offer alternative methods such as positive intervention and preventive supports then there will be a shift in percentages of black adolescent males graduating high school and college.

Ultimate results from the BEAM project include the reduction of child maltreatment; improved permanency; and increased well-being in the areas of education, physical and mental health, and social interaction by over 80%. In addition, we provide culturally-based intervention and child protective services aimed at keeping black adolescent male children safely in their homes with their families and reducing the rate of child welfare cases being accepted for services. This occurs all while ensuring that all black adolescent males referred to BEAM will be afforded the opportunity to be Pittsburgh Promise Ready.

Active Schools



  • West Mifflin Middle School
  • Faison Elementary School
  • Penn Hills Charter School
  • Chartier Valley Middle School
  • Minadeo Elementary School
  • Sterrett Middle School

For more information about the BEAM Project, please contact:

Nate Brown
Program Coordinator
412-665-2810 ext. 201