George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy → About Us
Frequently Asked Questions
The George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. , a tutoring and mentoring program, has been in operation since 1986 and has enhanced the academic achievement of thousands of children in Montgomery County, Maryland.
The Learning Academy was established in 1986 as the Olney Saturday School by members of the Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Recognizing a growing need in the community, these individuals focused on helping youngsters who needed additional academic support in order to be successful in school. The first learning academy began with 21 children and 19 volunteers who met on Saturday mornings at the day care center at the Housing Opportunities Commission in Olney, Maryland.
Saturday School centers are now at twelve sites in Montgomery County (listed below) and serve over 3,000 students annually from cluster elementary, middle, and high schools. The program, which serves students in grades 1 through 12, operates on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., October through May.
- Montgomery Blair High School (established 2002)
- Albert Einstein High School (established 2004)
- Gaithersburg High School (established 2002)
Held at Gaithersburg Middle School for 2011-2012 school year:
- John F. Kennedy High School (established 2001)
- Col. Zadok Magruder High School (established 2005)
- Northwest High School (established 2002)
- Paint Branch High School (established 2000)
- Rockville High School (established 2005)
- Sherwood High School (established 1994)
- Springbrook High School (established 1996)
- Watkins Mill High School (established 2004)
- Wheaton High School (established 2002)
- Contact information for Center Directors
Saturday School is open to all students who desire to improve or enhance their academic growth and achievement. Learning Academy centers are strategically located in communities that have been identified in the Montgomery County Public School superintendent’s “Call To Action” as areas of greatest need.
The aim of the Academy is to help “close the achievement gap” that exists for African-American and Hispanic students as compared to White and Asian students. Our program is targeted to minority students having difficulty with academic performance, however, all students who wish to improve are encouraged to participate in the program.
Once enrolled, students must meet high academic and behavioral expectations, including regular attendance. They are required to share quarterly report cards with tutors, who use the information to plan tutoring activities and monitor student progress. A measurement system has been developed with the Office of Shared Accountability (Montgomery County Public Schools) to show the impact of the program on the academic progress of students.
To assure consistency and quality, each center is staffed by certified teachers who serve as lead tutors. These professionals assist the volunteer tutors to help them be more effective as they work with students. Working with the lead tutors, volunteer tutors also help students with their academic work. Volunteers are vital to the success of the Learning Academy.
Current and retired school teachers and administrators are a large part of the tutoring cadre. Members of the professional community, including legal, medical, science, high tech, and government, also assist as tutors. In addition, pre-service teachers from local colleges and universities also serve as tutors. Many parents take part in the tutoring process, and advanced secondary students also serve as tutors.