skip to main content

Archive for March, 2014

Thurgood Marshall Academy Honored with National Excellence in Urban Education Award

WASHINGTON – (Monday, March 17, 2014) —The National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) at San Diego State University announced Thurgood Marshall Academy as one of sixteen schools to win its 2014 National Excellence in Urban Education Award. The schools will be recognized at the National Excellence in Urban Education Symposium May 21-23 in San Diego.

To compete for the award, schools had to serve predominantly low-income students; yet the schools had to meet a long list of student performance criteria, including achievement scores, high attendance rates, low suspension rates, and high graduation rates for every demographic group of students.

Finalists were drawn from a large pool of applicants that included many schools that have earned recognition as National Blue Ribbon Schools, National Title I Distinguished Schools, and winners of many other state and national awards. Thurgood Marshall Academy was the only school in Washington DC to be selected as a finalist.

“The finalists have attained a level of achievement more typically seen in schools that serve very affluent communities,” said Joseph F. Johnson, Jr., Executive Director of NCUST. “They’ve demonstrated evidence of effectiveness among all of the student populations they serve, and prove that our nation’s urban schools can be wonderful centers of learning that change children’s lives,” Johnson said.

All finalists received on-site visits during the months of January and February. The sixteen wining schools demonstrated the greatest evidence of rigorous content, engaging instruction, and positive relationships among students, teachers, parents, and administrators.

Thurgood Marshall Academy and the other award-winning schools will be recognized at a special awards ceremony during the NCUST Symposium on Thursday, May 22nd. The Silver Award schools receive a check for $2,500 and are eligible to be selected as the Gold Award Winner in their category (elementary, middle, high-school). Recipients of the Gold Award will be announced at the symposium and receive a total of $5,000 to support educational efforts.

To learn more about NCUST’s National Excellence in Urban Schools Transformation, please visit their website.

Spotlight on Stewart Gray: The Journey to College Acceptance

Thurgood Marshall Academy, a high-performing public charter high school, has been an educational pillar in Washington, DC’s Anacostia community for the last twelve years. Within the walls of the school, hundreds of students, many of whom will be first generation college-goers, have realized their potential, transcending the negative images of their community portrayed in the media. Since opening in 2001, 100% of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s nine graduating cohorts have been accepted to college, receiving over $15 million in scholarships. These statistics are a product of a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum and a collaborative environment. Parents, staff, and faculty members all contribute time and expertise in ensuring every student that makes it to their senior year at Thurgood Marshall Academy is accepted and successful in college.

Statistics can tell a story, albeit an impersonal one: In an effort to share our best practices and give a name and face to these achievement numbers, we will follow one student, Stewart Gray, as he completes the last few months of his high school tenure. Through a series of weekly posts and articles, we will interview Stewart as he awaits his college application decisions, completes scholarship applications, chooses a school to attend in the fall, walks the final stretch to graduation, and finally, his move to college. During this series, you will also hear from Mr. Sanjay Mitchell, Director of College & Alumni Programs, about the preparation that Thurgood Marshall Academy seniors undergo during their last year of high school to prepare for college.

Meet Stewart Gray

What are your hobbies and interests?

In my spare time, I enjoy programming, 3D modeling, playing the guitar, writing and listening to music.

Can you briefly describe your high school experience and journey? Why did you decide to come to TMA and did TMA meet your expectations?

I came to TMA after our family relocated to Washington, DC. The school was close to home, and my initial impressions were positive.

How has TMA changed your look for the future?

In the next few months, I anticipate receiving my acceptance letter and diploma necessary to get into college. In relation to academics, I intend to follow my intended major as an electrical engineer. I aim to work in the development of safer batteries and efficient embedded systems for electric vehicles, advancing the use of alternative energies in transportation. Traditional combustion-oriented vehicles remain dominant on the roads, leading to unnecessary pollution that can be especially pervasive in urban areas. It is a tentative career oriented goal, but one that I feel will encompass my interests which range from the technical to the social sciences. For instance, my membership in the school’s green club has made me more aware of the need for alternative energy in urban environments.

Why did you agree to have us follow you on this journey of college acceptance?

I wanted to share a different student perspective about the college process in relation to this school.

What schools did you apply to? Which ones are your top 5 and why?

My top five schools are Stanford University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Rice University and Cornell University. I have chosen them based on the strength of their engineering programs, locale, and unique traits. For instance, I am intrigued by Stanford’s proximity to the Silicon Valley.

To be continued…

Come back next week for a conversation with Mr. Mitchell, the Director of College & Alumni Programs. We’ll be talking about Senior Seminar and we’ll provide an update on Stewart. We encourage the community to provide feedback and encouragement on these weekly posts.