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About Thurgood Marshall Academy

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TMA_smiling student_male
TMA pep rally
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Thurgood Marshall Academy photographs by Stephen Voss.

Thurgood Marshall Academy is a college-preparatory public charter high school located in ward 8’s historic Anacostia neighborhood. The school upholds Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s legacy of equal opportunity through our commitment to providing an excellent education for all students. Opened in 2001, Thurgood Marshall Academy prepares students to succeed in college and instills in students an understanding of democracy and advocacy for themselves and for others.

TMA At-a-Glance

Thurgood Marshall Academy serves nearly 400 students annually, over 90% of whom live in Wards 7 and 8, communities with the most poverty and fewest resources in the District. Almost 100% of our students are African-American and about 75% qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – the education marker of poverty.

As a non-selective high school, Thurgood Marshall Academy is open to all DC students; we do not enroll students based on academic ability. The average ninth-grade student enters our school with skills three or four grade levels behind. In order to improve their skills and help students overcome years of accumulated academic deficits, all ninth and tenth grade students receive twice as much English and math instruction (90 minutes of each per day) as they would in a traditional public school.

Our program works; we have the highest Median Growth Percentile—a measure of students’ academic gains—in math and reading in DC. For the past three years, our students’ scores on DC city-wide standardized tests were amongst the highest in the city for all non-selective high schools. Our students’ average SAT score exceeds that of African American students in the District and our students’ Advanced Placement passing rate is among the highest of all high schools in the District.

Thurgood Marshall Academy’s curriculum emphasizes elements of law and justice throughout all subject areas. Our goal is not that every student becomes a lawyer, but that students develop their own voices and learn the skills lawyers have—the ability to solve complex problems, think critically, and advocate persuasively. These skills will serve them well in high school, in college, and in the world of work for a lifetime.

The education students receive at Thurgood Marshall Academy extends far beyond the classroom. Enrichment opportunities include tutoring and law-based programs at the District’s leading law firms; recreational and educational activities with adult mentors; engaging afterschool programs; and service projects to improve our local community. Our athletes compete on teams in the Washington Charter School Athletic League and host opponents in our recently renovated, state-of-the art athletic center.

Our expectation of excellence and our steadfast commitment to the success of each student are at the heart of our success at Thurgood Marshall Academy. Every member of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s first nine graduating classes was accepted to a two- or four-year college or university and received some form of financial assistance to defray the cost of college. The school has graduated over 400 students since its first class received diplomas in 2005; one hundred percent have been accepted to college; over 90% attend college within the first year of high school graduation; and, 94% of alumni persist from freshman year to sophomore year in college.

Most notable, Thurgood Marshall Academy alumni are graduating college at rates five times higher than their neighborhood peers, truly fulfilling the school’s mission and changing their communities. Across all college pathway metrics, Thurgood Marshall Academy students are outperforming national and local outcomes.-