Description: The George V Thomas Learning Academy, also known as Saturday school, is the oldest and largest mentoring and tutoring program in Montgomery County.
The George V Thomas Learning Academy, also known as Saturday school, is the oldest and largest mentoring and tutoring program in Montgomery County. The executive director will tell us more about this program that serves MCPS students.
We have students come in at 8:30 in the morning, they departed at 11 o’clock, some of our centers have transportation, some of them have free breakfast for students. But it’s all about learning and getting that competitive edge for college and career readiness.
Our Academy serves over 3,000 students at 12 different centers, most of our centers are located at high schools and they serve the clusters in those particular high schools. But it’s not just open to those clusters, we serve students all over Montgomery County, we have a variety of fees.
So if students are a free and reduced meals, they pay $40 for the entire year. And if they’re not on free and reduced meals, they pay $70 for the entire year. So it is a nominal fee, it costs us maybe about $600 to serve a student over the course of that year.
On Saturday morning, students come in to a free warm breakfast served by food services. After that, there’s a 20-minute motivational session that highlights the motto of Saturday school, it’s about building confidence and an academic identity in each of our learners where they will know that they can be competitive and compete in the classroom and in the world at large.
After motivational moment, students in elementary school will go to literacy learning and then math learning, and then they’ll depart at 11 o’clock. So these are the core subjects that the students are having this extra day of learning very much, it’s much more subject oriented.
So the county has a pretty huge focus on advanced placement courses, International Baccalaureate courses and those students that are involved in those rigorous courses can come and get additional support, that’s subject related.
We all know that this country has a huge achievement gap and what I’m seeing is that students regardless of the Democrat, their demographic background, they’re building their confidence as learners. We have evaluated our program and we see that students that participate in Saturday school that come on a regular basis, have a higher achievement. It is definitely making a difference for academic achievement.
All of our lead tutors are certified teachers, most of them come from Montgomery County public school, so they teach the MCPS curriculum on the first 5 days of learning. And then they come in and support on Saturday morning, the sixth day of learning.
Then we have parent volunteers, we have student volunteers, we have partnerships with colleges and universities where we have college students that come back and tutor our students as well. So it really makes for a winning combination, when you have certified teachers and volunteers that help our students with mentoring and tutoring on Saturday mornings.
We are poised and ready to help our school system, get our students college and career ready.