The goal of the 100 Saturday Academy is to make every student “Responsible, Respectful, and Ready to Lead.” This series of Saturday learning opportunities for 3rd through 6th-grade students is uniquely designed to help students meet or exceed state academic standards. Only 12% of African American 4th-grade boys are proficient in reading, as opposed to 38% of their White counterparts. African American males who are not eligible for free or reduced lunches are doing no better than white males who are poor. This report (A Call for Change, by the National Assessment for Education Progress) shows that African American boys on average fall behind in their early years. A study done for the 2008-2009 school year by the Schott Foundation ranked Nebraska among the tenth lowest-performing states for the graduation rates of African American males (40%, as opposed to 83% by their White counterparts). This made Nebraska one of three Alarming Gap states, New York and Wisconsin being the other two.
Of the students in the 100 Saturday Academy, 95% are North Omaha residents, 90% are on free and reduced lunch, 82% are at or below the poverty level, 80% perform below grade level and 60% have either attendance or behavior issues.
The 100 BMO in collaboration with Title I and Omaha Public Schools established the 100 Saturday Academy specifically for students in the 3rd through 6th grade who have fallen behind, to address the growing educational, cultural, and self-esteem gaps they experience compared to their peers. More specifically, to positively address statistics associated with at-risk low-income youth. Needless to say, this has had a direct correlation to dropout rates later on in their education.
Through this learning opportunity, students receive support from certified teachers to master concepts in reading, writing, and mathematics. In group settings, activities are developed to strengthen and support the relationships between schools, parents, and students. Students are evaluated with Success Maker, a computer program to identify strengthens. This has served as an excellent evaluation tool to show the initial placement of the student and their progress throughout the year.
Last school year, 2013-2014, 110 students were enrolled in the 100 Saturday Academy program. Students, who completed the initial assessment and attended 75% of the 25 academy sessions, showed a 34% increase in their math, and a 20% increase in their reading proficiency. Of these students, 41% showed an increase in their area of focus. The area of focus is the greatest need, as determined by the parent or academy teacher. Overall, 44.8% of the students participating in this years’ academy showed an average increase in their OPS reading and math of half a letter grade (i.e. C- to C). The average OPS attendance rate for all students participating in the academy was 97.7%.
At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, a parental survey was conducted to assess parent perceptions of how the 100 Saturday Academy program impacted their child. 100% of the parents responding agreed that their child liked the program, talked about things they had learned in the program, and enjoyed the enrichment activities provided. 83% of the parents responding agreed that their child was more confident about their schoolwork and had shown improvement in school.
The following parental testimonies speak to these results:
“I believe it takes a village to raise children, and we are happy that100 Black Men of Omaha is part of our village. We have three boys involved in their programs, one in the Saturday Academy, and two are mentees in the Leadership Mentoring Academy. The 100 Black Men of Omaha not only focuses on education but also structure and respect. My children are learning to be positive leaders who stand for making the right choices. Because of the tutoring, they are receiving, I have seen improvements in their school work. The 100 Black Men of Omaha is about the success of our youth, checking on them at school and home, and attending school activities. And, they definitely stand by their motto, teaching me to be “Respectful, Responsible and Ready to Lead.” I love this program.” Glenn W.
“After attending the 100 Saturday Academy; my daughter Artavia showed improvement in math. When she started the program she had an “F” in math, but when she finished the program she had a “C.” Her overall confidence improved when completing math assignments independently. I wish she could have attended more sessions, but her other weekend activities really prevented her from the full benefit of the program. I am not sure if evening sessions throughout the school year would be an option, but I think this may help a lot of families who have busy home schedules. Either way, I greatly appreciate Artavia having the opportunity to participate in your program. Thank you.” Janelle B.
“My two children and my niece attend the 100 Saturday Academy enrichment program. I have had the pleasure of watching my niece blossom into a social butterfly. She is normally around adults so having the opportunity to be around her peers has helped her gain confidence and the ability to make new friends. She is a very intelligent young lady; however, she needed to work on her social skills. The 100 Saturday Academy provided the means for enhancing her education and allowing her the opportunity to fellowship. Thank you, 100 Black Men, of Omaha. “From a loving aunt and mother.” Stacee W.
“I must confess that at first, my child was not too excited about coming to this program, but after a few weeks, she looks forward to attending every Saturday. She doesn’t like school at all but every Saturday she is up and ready to go, she can’t wait to get there. Before attending she hated math, but now she doesn’t fear it anymore and she tolerates school much more. Thank you so much 100 Black Men of Omaha for bringing so much joy into my child’s life every Saturday and every day! Thank You!” DeAmbra Y.
“Before my son participated in the 100 Black Men, he was behind in Math and in Reading just slightly. Now, he is excelling greatly in Math and has grown a love for it. In reading, he is 2-grade levels above his own. He is also more responsible and polite. Thank you for all you do!” Melody S.
“Matthew began this program struggling with math and reading comprehension as well as trying to get a handle on his ADHD. Over the years, this program helped Matt to not be afraid of math and to try. He doesn’t need a resource teacher for math anymore and will complete his assignments on his own. His teacher says his excitement about reading and vocab words are inspiring other students to read. So thanks for all the hard work you all put into my son.” April S.