Black Male College Explorers Program

Mr. Darren Gardner, MA, Director

Black Male College Explorers Program

Site Coordinator; UF High-Risk Delinquent and Dependent Child Educational Research Project

C: (904)330-6070

O: (904)470-8001


Fax: (904) 470-8934




“Since 2005, the Edward Waters College Black Male College Explorers program has had a 100% high school graduation rate.”




Black Male College Explorers Program

The Black Male College Explorers Program (BMCEP) is an intervention program designed specifically for black males who are potential high school dropouts. The goals of the program are to prevent these students from dropping out, facilitate their admission to college, and significantly increase their chance of earning a college degree.

The mission of the Black Male College Explorers program is to provide each student a diverse education in a safe, supportive environment that promotes self-discipline, motivation, and excellence in learning. The Black Male College Explorers staff join with the parents and community members who assist these students in developing skills to become independent and self-sufficient adults who will succeed and contribute responsibly in a global community.

The Goals of the Program

  • Provide experiences that will prevent this demographic from dropping out of school.
  • Facilitate preparedness to enter the work force or engage in some type of secondary training/education.
  • Facilitate their admission to college.
  • Significantly increase their chances of earning a college degree.

The program recruits middle and high school students from all over Florida enrolled in grades 7 through 11 who are identified as at-risk males. The selected students receive additional counseling and mentoring from school officials and community leaders throughout the school year. In addition, Edward Waters College provides five weeks of highly concentrated developmental experiences, which includes weekly seminars, workshops and motivational trips during the summer. Food, books, and classroom supplies and materials are provided at no cost to the students involved in the program. Edward Waters College provides several in-kind contributions including housing for the program.  Students reside in the Morris Cone Residential Complex and are under the supervision of the staff. Mentors and instructors develop one on one relationships with the parents during the program to ensure progress made during the program can be continued and supported.

Students participate in a STEM curriculum while they are on campus. They also attend a variety of programs on subjects that cover everything from hygiene to personal development. The comprehensive program is designed to build them up to become successful members of society.

The degree to which the program goals and expected outcomes are met are determined by the concerted efforts of the staff and guided by the counselor who monitor and document student progress and achievement in the program and in the public school milieu; design appropriate formative and summative evaluation procedures and implement; and track student performance in both the program components and on standardized performance and achievement indicators used in Duval and St. Johns counties and the state of Florida. Data collected and evaluated are both qualitative and quantitative and used to make program decisions.