News / USA

    DC School Delivers Quality Education for African-American Girls

    Chris Simkins
    A school in Washington DC is making a difference for young African-American girls. Many of their families live below the poverty line of $35,000 for a family of four, in communities where more than half of all students drop out before they reach high school. This special school is turning around the lives of girls.

    They start their day with a prayer.

    Then it’s off to class at The Washington Middle School for Girls in the nation's capital. One hundred students attend this Catholic day school. They come from low-income homes with complex family backgrounds. Many are being raised by a single parent or grandparent.  

    Sister Mary Bourdon founded the school 14 years ago. Private donations cover most of the costs, including the $15,000-a-year tuition and a federal lunch program that gives students a hot meal each day. The school is located in a community where teen pregnancy is high and many girls are at risk for leaving school early.  

    "This is where we wanted our school to be, where we could reach young girls during their middle-school years and intervene in a way that sets them on the track to a healthy and happy adulthood," Bourdon said.

    Sister Bourdon says students often enter the school below their grade level and are not motivated.  "One of the first things we do is get the teachers who excite them about learning," she said. "They get personal individual attention."

    Class sizes are small, giving teachers like Kelly Lockard an opportunity to work one-on-one.

    "If I am able to develop that relationship with them and if they are able to feel comfortable with me, that helps with the intrinsic motivation," she explained. "And it helps with them just relaxing and being comfortable to be able to ask whatever questions they need to ask about about math or about life."

    Neaje is excelling and wants to be a doctor someday. "In my previous schools, they didn't have as much as this school has and the love and the care that they show for me. We all have high expectations for ourselves," she noted. "And so do our teachers."

    Makayla is another success. She came to the school three years ago shy and lacking self confidence.  Now she's eager to learn.

    “When I'm here, I feel challenged. I don't feel like I am getting the lowest education or this isn't good enough for me. I feel like I am being pushed to my limits to do my best," she said.

    Makayla says this school has given her hope for what she wants to achieve in life.

    "I think there should be a lot of other schools like this one," she added. "Because it provides you with a good education and it helps you be the best that you can be."

    Ninety-seven percent of the students here graduate from high school, compared with less than half at DC public schools.  That's success for a private school helping young girls fulfill their dreams.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora