Welcome to school year 2015-2016! I am Richard Pohlman, the new Interim Executive Director for Thurgood Marshall Academy. I am excited to join this wonderful community of families, educators and partners. I hope to have the opportunity to meet each and every one of you this year to share my goals for the school and hear what makes this school special to each of you.
This year, we celebrate our 15th year of helping our students meet their goals for college and beyond. Since opening, TMA has become one of the city’s top performing high schools and boasts some of the highest growth rates in the city. This success is due, in no small part, to our dedicated teachers and staff who work tirelessly for that all important “Aha!” moment.
However, our success would not be possible without your support as well. When I talk to students, they routinely tell me how much visiting law firms, working with mentors, interning at companies, and meeting professional adults mean to their education. Faculty also share stories of recent graduates like Sydni, who interned at the physics lab at the University of Maryland during her tenth grade year. That Job Shadow Day experience inspired her to pursue a career in astrophysics, and she is currently attending the University of Pittsburgh. You make a direct and meaningful impact on our students through these experiences – thank you.
While we have many things to celebrate, we also have room to grow. We must continue to commit to education equity for all our students in the District of Columbia. To better serve our community, I have three goals for the year: transition the school to independently serving our special needs students; work with city administration and community members to replicate the school in the near future to increase our impact; and address questions about student attrition, specifically the number of students leaving in the ninth and tenth grades.
In addition, I want to re-engage partners who have helped TMA over the first 15 years so that we can increase our reach and impact through the city. You can do this in many different ways – direct financial support, tutoring, supporting our alumni, or just sending a note of encouragement to a teacher or student. I look forward to learning more from you about ways you are interested in investing in the lives of our students and their families.
Finally, I invite you to visit TMA and see our work in action – tour the school, visit classrooms, and hear directly from me and other leaders about our work this year.
Again, thanks for your support, and I look forward to meeting you.
Interim Executive Director