The Frederick Douglass Promise Program is making a major impact on the ninth graders at Frederick Douglass Academy.
Months in the planning, the program is designed to ease the transition of freshmen to high school and encourages them to excel academically and socially by offering support from administrators, school counselors, parents, teachers, upper-classmen and community leaders.
Unlike existing bridge programs, which run 4-6 weeks and focus on brushing up academics for incoming ninth graders, the Promise Program supports students year-round. Freshmen are constantly reminded to take pride in themselves and their surroundings.
An additional hour was added to the school day for enrichment activities such as art, wrestling, debating, music, rocketry and library study-time. Yoga is offered once a week in the morning.
The program is the result of a collaborative effort by Principal Berry Greer, Assistant Principal Monique McMurtry, community stakeholders and teachers Quan Neloms, ninth grade Social Studies, and Major (R) Ayanna Morales-Kaley, Senior Army Instructor.
Impressively, the Promise Program, has yielded some positive results since school has started.
Ninth graders are dressed in uniform and arriving to class on time. They are focused on learning and the halls are much cleaner than prior years.
Established routines and consistent rules and expectations throughout the program seems to be the key to its success.
Each morning, ninth graders report to their wing of the building and prepare for community time in the hallway with their teachers. Community time focuses on creating a positive, nurturing and upbeat climate that inspires the students to be their best.
It is used for announcements, shout outs to students for positive behavior and academic achievement, words of encouragement and empowerment by a speaker from a community program or local company.
Finally, a declaration is made by reciting the following creed:
We, the young men of Frederick Douglass Academy,
are honorable young men of integrity, filled with potential
and endless possibility.
We seek to embody the values of:
Manhood, Altruism, Courage and Scholarship
We will meet and exceed the hopes and dreams of those who came before us.
This is our mission. This is our promise.
It is the beginning of a new culture and climate at Frederick Douglass Academy.