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Saturday School In the News

Saturday School Program Aids in Student Development

by Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Published February 24, 2015

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education stands alone as the only source of critical news, information and insightful commentary on the full range of issues concerning diversity in American higher education.

Excerpt ... see full article here: Diverse article on Saturday School

" ... Upward of 3,000 students—or roughly 2 percent of the nearly 154,000 students in the increasingly diverse Montgomery County Public Schools system—attend the Saturday School that is run by the nonprofit George B. Thomas, Sr., Learning Academy.

Program supporters say the Saturday School, which relies on paid teachers and college students as volunteer tutors, could benefit the world of higher education in numerous ways if it were to be replicated—something that is beginning to happen.

The program, which runs from October through April of the school year, operates on about $1.4 million a year, which translates to about $467 per student.

The program serves students in grades 1 through 12. Most of the participants at the high school level are “moderate to high-achieving” minority students. More than half are eligible for free and reduced lunch, and, for many, English is a second language.

Leonard Haynes, a board member of the academy that runs the Saturday School, said a primary benefit of the Saturday School is that it helps K-12 students set their sights on higher learning.

“Students participating in the Saturday School are exposed to college students who can encourage their aspiration to do their best and put going to higher education high on their agenda,” said Haynes, who is also a senior administrator in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Haynes said the Saturday School also provides an important “clinical experience” for college students who are aspiring to become teachers.

The program, which began in 1986 with just 21 students and 19 volunteers, is associated with higher student GPAs and might be helping to boost college entrance exam scores, said Michael A. Thomas, executive director of the George B. Thomas, Sr., Learning Academy, Inc.

The academy was founded by George B. Thomas, Sr., former Voorhees College president, and his fellow members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc..."



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