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.”

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