Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Juniors Have Law Firm Tutoring to Thank for Success

Now that most students are home for the summer, they have time to reflect on some of the achievements that they’ve accomplished this past school year.
Juniors who were promoted are preparing for senior year. They forged through a challenging curriculum that included SAT preparation, AP and Honors courses, and portfolio presentations. Among the extra supports that keep students on track at TMA, juniors have the opportunity to get additional guidance alongside lawyers during bi-weekly Law Firm Tutoring.
An after-school program built into Thurgood Marshall Academy’s law-themed curriculum, Law Firm Tutoring is an enrichment activity that gives 11th graders access to knowledgeable legal professionals who help them apply legal skills to their school work and civic engagement efforts. The seasoned lawyers, all of whom work one-on-one with students, exhibit and apply the same legal skills that students are required to implement throughout their academic performance.
Pairing students with like-minded professionals ensures that they develop and learn the skills that lawyers have – the ability to solve complex problems, think critically, and advocate persuasively. Students come prepared to go over classwork, edit college essays, research scholarship opportunities, or talk about current events and other topics they discover they have in common with tutors.
“Even though they [law firm tutors] are intellectuals, they are easy to gel with and will help break you out of your shell,” said Jibri Tucker, 11th grader. “I see Law Firm Tutoring as a good experience because law firm tutors encourage students to pick up the slack – if there is any. They really care.”
This school year, six law firms participated in the program and provided public support to the junior class. Each tutor imparted not just academic knowledge, but sound advice that can guide college and career choices and student efforts to serve our democratic society.

  • Blank Rome
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Jenner & Block
  • King & Spalding
  • Vinson & Elkins
  • Williams & Connolly

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SGA Representative Talks Next Steps as Hopeful Prez

Rose Bowers recently finished a term as Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA). Thurgood Marshall Academy elects a Student Government each year at the beginning of the first semester. Upon returning to school in August, Rose plans to run for President of the student-run organization.

Rose Bowers, (far left) 11th grade

Below, Rose talks about her vision as President and what her involvement in SGA and other enrichment activities (COLSA participant) means to her success as a college student.

Why is SGA important?

I feel like teachers and students, in some ways, have different ways of looking at things. SGA allows students to represent students. I decided to join [SGA] and make changes within the school because as a student, you understand the concerns of your peers because they affect you as well. There’s a more of a personal connection to the students’ needs and it makes you more passionate to advocate for those needs.

What were some school issues that you pushed forward as Vice President and why were they important to you?

I really focused on making the students’ voices heard and worked to create an environment where they feel comfortable being who they are in the classroom and throughout the halls of TMA. I noticed that many of my friends were not taking advantage of school resources like Homework Help, which I attend consistently to keep my grades up. I understood the value of Homework help and encouraged students to go. Because of my personal experience attending Homework Help sessions, students were more trusting of my advice.

What is your vision for the next SGA team? How can they work together to be an effective team and create change?

My vision for the next SGA team is to work better together so that we can be a more effective group. I noticed that SGA has so many great ideas. However, we are not putting up enough effort to create change, which causes the students, those we are supposed to be standing up for, to second-guess our roles as their selected representatives. As future SGA President, I will need to address these issues early on so my team knows what they are expected to do to be a great leadership committee.

How has your involvement with SGA prepared you for college?

My involvement in SGA has prepared me for college because I have developed strong leadership skills. I know how to handle situations and how to connect not only with students, but also with adults. As an SGA representative, you have to take the concerns and issues of your peers to the teachers and faculty. Then you have to find a way to present a case so that teachers and faculty will understand and be in favor of your solutions. This takes a certain level of communication skills that I will be able to use when I go off to college.

What is the Coalition of Local Student Activists (COLSA)? And tell us more about your experience with the organization.

COLSA is a student-run organization where I worked with other teenagers from DC high schools to raise awareness about modern civil rights issues. We had to come up with a plan to solve them. Being involved with COLSA made me want to be more open. I only talked about controversial issues that target my community when the news was on at home and I was around my family. But COLSA empowered me to bring these issues up in the classroom, among my peers, and in discussions with my teachers.

What were some of the civil rights issues that your COLSA group addressed?

Police brutality in our communities. We came up with a plan to help police officers and the youth trust each other better. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Out-of-School-Time Programs Prepare Students for College: Carlos’ Story

Carlos McKnight is a well-rounded high school student whose participation in Thurgood Marshall Academy’s (TMA) extra-curricular activities has given him a sure advantage to perform well at Daemen College this fall. With plans to major in Political Science, McKnight’s long-terms goals are to get involved in government and, eventually, run for public office.

Today, his long-term goals are a reality but McKnight remembers when the idea of going to college was simply that – an idea. “I am proud that I was accepted into college,” he said. “It was something that I only dreamed about. I never thought that I could go to college.”

McKnight, like 96% of TMA students, is from one of DC’s most underserved communities. Ward 8, where TMA is located, has the lowest high school and graduation rates in the city. But McKnight has defied the odds. On June 12th, he will graduate with a 3.1 G.P.A. He leaves behind his contribution to the Debate Team, School Band, Gay Straight Alliance, school newspaper, and other after-school clubs.

Each year, TMA offers approximately 15 clubs that encourage students’ personal development, provide opportunities to build leadership skills, and connect students with their communities. Providing students with clubs and extra-curricular activities support TMA’s mission to prepare students for college and to actively engage in our democratic society. Out-of-school-time projects or extended teacher availability give students wrap-around supports to ensure students thrive beyond the classroom as future college students.

“In addition to clubs to get involved in, the [teacher] office hours are the best thing about TMA,” said McKnight. “Not only do I get help, but I am exposed to the same experiences as college students. TMA, in all forms, has programs that help students succeed and prepare us for college.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Saturday School Helps Students Prepare for Finals

Social Studies Teacher Joshua Biederman shares his experience teaching Saturday School to help students prepare for end-of-school year exams.

Teachers at TMA put in an incredible amount of time, thought, and action into preparing students for exams. Our students are dedicated and aim to be better, especially during this time of the year. TMA students take a GREAT DEAL of exams and even though students essentially earn the test scores, we, as teachers, play a crucial role in this process.

As an educator, I take pride in going the extra mile to prepare students for the slew of exams that they are required to take in order to advance to the next grade or be accepted into college. In addition to passing content specific exams in all their classes, students must take PARCC assessments in English, Math, and Biology, the SAT, the ACT, SAT II content exams, and AP exams. It’s no joke, and requires massive preparation.

So what do we do at TMA?  

We offer Saturday School and give students time outside of the traditional classroom setting to prepare for exams.

While this does require teachers to prepare additional lessons for an additional day of work, TMA teachers still put forth the extra effort. It is easy to do when you have an administration that supports you and students who are willing to study hard. Thanks to the support that TMA provides, including free lunch for students on these days, it is productive to work with students outside of the barriers and structure of traditional class.

What students and teachers look forward to most is the freedom that we can take advantage of on a weekend day. There’s no need to grade student work and students have the room to shout out answers and other fragments of information as it comes to mind. The beauty is not worrying about disrupting other classrooms and being surrounded by enthusiastic young people who gave up their Saturday because they are eager to learn.

Getting any student to school six days a week could be a struggle, but I have always found it easy to work with students on Saturdays. TMA offers incentives – a fabulous field trip to King’s Dominion amusement park – for students who improve their scores and attend Saturday sessions. So really, students have nothing to lose.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hosts of TMA’s Job Shadow Day Are Inspired by Students’ Enthusiasm and Willingness to Learn

This year’s Job Shadow Day was an amazing opportunity for students in the sophomore class to explore careers and make professional connections.

Students look forward Job Shadow Day, an opportunity to travel to a job placement site and swap their school uniform for business attire. But the hosts, many of whom are experts in their line of work, are just as eager to mentor students and introduce them to typical work day activities. Job Shadow Day gives hosts a chance to experience, first-hand, the drive and hunger that TMA students continue to put forth in an effort to learn more about their future crafts.

Below are testimonials from this year’s hosts:

The company loved having DeAndre around. He got to meet with folks in several departments, do an energy efficiency walk-through of a commercial building, and visit the Earth Conservation Corps’ historic pump house on the Anacostia to learn about their programs.” Cory, DC Sustainable Energy Utility

The students are very outgoing and friendly. One of them, who expressed interest in being a lawyer, asked great questions after reading some case-related materials. Overall, they led educated discussions and are great students who are very intelligent and were very helpful.” Inez, Williams & Connolly, LLP

Christina was a pleasure to have at the office. She spent the day with FHH attorneys, watching us work, asking questions, and sharing her interest in going to law school one day. We even had a chance to treat her to a viewing spot on the rooftop patio, where we saw the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover in honor of the 70th anniversary of the V-E Day. It was definitely a perfect time for her to visit.” Jonathan, Fletcher Heald & Hildreth

Tayanna and Tiffany are a bit worn out, but we had fun! We walked the campus quite a bit and saw key areas of the schools. I was sure to take them on a tour of the engineering school and the medical school. Before they left, we presented them with emergency kits that will keep them informed about occupational health.  I think they've learned a lot about how we keep students, staff, and faculty of the university safe.” Naomi, George Washington University

TMA partners with a number of career professionals throughout the DC Metro area who host students at their respective place of work and offer advice on professionalism, new careers, and the necessary academic steps and skills required to become leaders in their field of choice.

If you want to introduce TMA students to a career you’re passionate about and host a Job Shadow Day in the future, please email Molly Rothschild:

Participating Job Placements include:

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Warrior Review Launch Party

Thurgood Marshall Academy's student authors and artists attended the launch party for the school's first annual literary journal, The Warrior Review, this past Friday in the courtyard. Students signed copies of The Warrior Review and read their work at an open mic!

Music teacher Mr. Van Siclen played original compositions that students created in Music Club, and unveiled the TMA sound cloud page:

The Warrior Review is now available for purchase: $3 with a TMA student ID, and $5 without. You can buy them in the Programs Office, or by emailing Mr. Corcoran:

If you see any of our 38 contributors out and about, congratulate them on their achievements!

Darricka Allen

Te’Asia Capies
Beverly Carpenter
Cheyonne Dickens
Amani Dunn
Japaira Ellison
DeLanté Fludd
Monee Ford
Stewart Gray
Daymoni Guyton
Lexis Harkum
Rebecca Holloway
Demetria House
Kaneshia House
Elcid Johnson, Jr.
Kadeejah Johnson
Marquett Jones
Destiny Long
Roneisha Mason
Kennika Massie
Malachi McCAskill
Carlos McKnight
D’ionni Michals-Phillips
Mario Munroe
Marissa Munroe
Marcelus Newell
Earica Parrish
Aaron Parrish-Dean
Brian Reid
Lawrence Rosemond
Khalia Scott
Raven Smith
Jordan Taylor
Cornell Thorndyke
Cer’cia Wallace
Kenyana Williams
Gregory Wilson 
Michelle Wright

Friday, March 22, 2013

March Mentor Day!

The March Mentor Day was spent with the wonderful team at the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast Washington DC. Students and Mentors participated in a cooking demonstration with Chef Grace Lichaa, where each team made BBQ Turkey Mini Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries, Smoothies and Salads.

We would like to give a very special THANK YOU to mentor Stephanie Sneed for organizing this wonderful event! You are amazing, Stephanie!!!!

Take a look at March's Mentor Day:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

TMA Senior Wins GW Tractenberg Scholarship!

On Wednesday, March 20th, Thurgood Marshall Academy senior DeLanté Fludd was awarded the George Washington University S. J. Tractenberg Scholarship, becoming TMA's fourth Tractenberg Scholar. 

The scholarship, which is valued at $200,000, is awarded to exemplary students graduating from an accredited DC public or public charter high school, and covers four years of expenses at GW.  

The announcement was made by GW President Steven Knapp and Karen Felton, GW's Director of Admissions, in front of the entire 11th and 12th grade classes. TMA alumni and GW students (and current Tractenberg scholars) Markus Batchelor and Moo Bae, as well as a representative from Councilmember Marion Barry's office, were on hand for the announcement.  We are so proud of DeLanté!

Monday, March 4, 2013

SGA Buddy System off and running

The Buddy System's first meeting!
Student Government has been hard at work running the Buddy System, in which underclassmen are partnered with upperclassmen peer mentors. This student-run program aims to help students connect with one another and use each other as a resource. Each meeting is designed with a different theme or activity to get students excited to work with their buddy, including icebreakers, movie days, scavenger hunts, trivia, and portfolio prep days. 

Junior Markel Lucas and his buddy, Freshman Amon Sutton participate in an icebreaker at the first buddy system meeting.

Rigbsy Law Camp Begins

Thurgood Marshall Academy Students Carlos Mcknight, Sakina Musa, LaDawn Curley, and Sydni Foshee are participating in the Law and Government Explorers’ Law Camp, which offers high school students mentoring relationships with professionals in the legal field. The program is designed to expose students to law and government career choices, as well as address issues relevant to student’s lives. 

Over the next few months, our students will learn about case strategy, direct and cross examination, and opening and closing statements in order to eventually participate in a Mock Trial competition in June. TMA students are very excited to learn more about the law and connect their experiences at school with the outside world. 

Green Club Shakes it Up

With all the great fruit and veggies from the Great Garden of Anacostia, the TMA Green club served up a variety of tasty shakes last week. Combinations of carrots, beets, celery, grapefruit, oranges, apples and ginger created delicious and healthy treats. Look out for more great food from Green Club this semester!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Clubs Showcase

Nachos, anyone?

TMA had our first annual Clubs Showcase after school this past Thursday, February 7th. It was a huge success, with over 15 clubs in attendance. Debate showed off their recent trophies, Green Club made very tasty nachos, IT Wiz Kids took apart and rebuilt computers, Book Club passed out this month’s book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Robotics ended the Showcase with their robot attempting to untie Mr. Corcoran's shoe.  More photos from the Showcase are below this post!

Debate shows off their recent trophies!

THANK YOU to all the clubs in attendance:

Book Club
The TMA Robot!
Writing Center
IT Wiz Kids
Teen Action

 TMA students: are you looking to join a club? Did you miss the showcase? Stop by the Programs Office (Room 210) for information on which clubs are accepting new members! 

IT Wiz Kids show off their skills. 

Ms. Horn plugs the great outdoors!

Green Club hands out nachos!

Ms. Williams, Robotics advisor, with Robotics members!

Book Club recruits new members!

HERO Club handed out free hats! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thurgood Marshall Academy hosted our 5th Annual Scholarship Day

Thurgood Marshall Academy hosted our 5th Annual Scholarship Day for seniors on Saturday, January 26th.  About 35 seniors attended and worked one-on-one with volunteers on scholarship applications.  About 35 volunteers also attended, many of whom are TMA mentors in the Mentor Program, TMA teachers, or tutors with the Law Firm Tutoring Program.

Seniors are required to complete five scholarship applications as part of their Senior Seminar course, and many of them were able to complete some if not all their applications during Scholarship Day. Hopefully all their hard work will pay off and they will receive money for college!

Students Plan Their Summers at the Summer Programs Fair

Thurgood Marshall Academy held our first annual Summer Programs Fair today after school on the half day. 

Students interested in applying for summer jobs, internships, and other programs came to the library to learn more about which programs were available.

Fifteen students from all grade levels attended the fair, including seniors Daymoni Guyton and Imani Scriber, who picked up applications for summer internships through Urban Alliance, the National Institutes of Health, and Smithsonian’s Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) program.

Did you miss the Summer Programs Fair? You can find out about all of our programs online at or by picking up a Summer Programs Manual in the Programs Office (Room 210). 

January Law Day

On Friday, January 25th, students attended their third Law Day program, in which 9th grade students travel to local law firms and learn about legal concepts from practicing attorneys! Half of the 9th grade class went to Hogan Lovells and the remaining students were split between Latham & Watkins and Foley & Lardner.

Students left TMA for their respective law firms at 12:30. Once they arrived at the law firms, students split into smaller groups and participated in a discussion on individual rights led by a few attorneys. The students learned how to discuss the basic individual rights protected by our legal system and understood that individual rights can come into conflict. For example, students were tasked with narrowing down the many rights afforded Americans and protected by the Constitution to the three rights that they believe are the most fundamental. Many groups agreed that the right not to be made a slave, the freedom of speech, and freedom of religion are some of our most important individual rights. Students also engaged in a role playing exercise, based off of an actually Supreme Court case, about protests at military funerals. Our students left this exercise with a strong knowledge of how the right to privacy, freedom of religion, right to peaceably assemble, and freedom of speech can sometimes come in conflict with one another.

Despite the cold and snow, the third law day was a great success. A special thanks to the chaperones and volunteers at the firms of Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins and Foley & Lardner!