By Melissa Campbell
Second grade teacher, Young Leaders Academy
The ringing of a school bell and the frantic assembly of students into their classrooms prior to instruction is not what you will see at the YMCA Young Leaders Academy (YLA). Students assemble as a community, proudly dressed in their uniforms–a symbol of unity and preparedness–to begin their job of becoming college bound and character strong. All the while student led recitation of Academy creeds and mottos fill the air reminding students that they attend a school that enforces that “each child has a birthright to a first-class education.”
The reinforced cultural norms of YLA provide a school community which can effectively foster the growth of creative, intuitive and analytical thinkers. Teachers at YLA are not confined by rosters as they treat every student as their own. The educator’s responsibility is to work as hard and as long as possible to provide the necessary tools and opportunities for children to experience academic, social and emotional success.
Young Leaders Academy has a ten year history of solid instructional practices that move students forward and assists in closing the achievement gap. The school provides intensive instruction which results in state test scores that exceed MPS and state-wide expectations. This instruction is facilitated by highly qualified and certified teachers in each classroom with additional support staff to create a 1:12 staff to student ratio. The instruction is supported by a Master Teacher to ensure every classroom teacher has the resources and assistance to use best practices.
This Master Teacher approach is a progressive practice that accompanies all of the core academic subjects.
The rigorous curriculum provides a strong foundation of skills with which the students are given opportunities to explore interests. Students are introduced to a range of interests with additional music, art, science labs, physical education, technology and Spanish classes.
Education can be a tool used to shape and develop an individual–the conduit for the social and economic mobility of a family and the revolutionary factor of a community or country. If quality education is delivered and embraced it leaves the marks of generational change.
Ten years of excellent education has laid the foundation for Young Leaders Academy’s legacy of exceptional education and we will continue to move forward.