Kennedy Cluster Family Academy to Provide Saturday Learning and Recreation Opportunities for Children and Families

January 29, 2001
The new Kennedy Cluster Family Academy, designed to provide Saturday programs and information services to community members from pre-schoolers to adults, opened on January 27 at John F. Kennedy High School. Tutoring and mentoring sessions on Saturday mornings, computer labs, ESOL courses for adults, Head Start classes for pre-school children, and recreation are among the offerings available through the Academy.

The keystone of the Kennedy Cluster Family Academy is the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy, Inc. (GBTLA), a 15-year-old mentoring and tutoring program often referred to as "Saturday School.'' Founded in 1986 by George B. Thomas, Sr. and other leaders in the African American community, it was designed to help children in grades one through 12 improve academic achievement, as well as develop social and emotional skills.

The Kennedy Cluster Family Academy represents a significant expansion of Saturday School services that will embrace a range of support programs for children and families. More opportunities are planned as the community identifies barriers to students' educational success. Schools throughout the Kennedy cluster, Montgomery County health services and recreation departments, Linkages to Learning, and school system ESOL, adult education, and Head Start offices are among the many partners that have joined to provide services and support to the Academy.

"The Academy represents outstanding community effort and cooperation that brings great credit to the Kennedy Cluster community," said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast at a press conference celebrating the opening of the Academy. "This is a model program that has the potential to extend to other school clusters."

Also among the community leaders and officials participating in the Academy opening were Kermit Burnett, vice president of the Board of Education, Blair Ewing, president of the County Council, Michael Subin, education chair of the County Council, Dr. Sheila Dobbins, principal of John F. Kennedy High School, and Dr. George B. Thomas, Sr, GBTLA president and CEO.

More than 100 students already have enrolled in the Kennedy Cluster Family Academy, which is staffed by approximately 50 tutors. Tutors include older students, many of whom attend John F. Kennedy High School, as well as parents, educators, and business leaders.

GBTLA tutoring and mentoring programs also are held at Paint Branch, Sherwood and Springbrook high schools.

Note: Following is a list of current Kennedy Cluster Family Academy partners.

John F. Kennedy High School

Argyle Middle School

Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School

Bel Pre Elementary School

Georgian Forest Elementary School

Glenallan Elementary School

Kemp Mill Elementary School

Strathmore Elementary School

George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy

Montgomery Business Roundtable for Education

MCPS Family & Community Partnerships

MCPS Head Start


MCPS Adult Education

Montgomery County Housing Opportunities


Montgomery County Recreation Department

Montgomery County School Health Services

Linkages to Learning

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