Assignments and work for and by the students:
Director, Helen Oliver, explains the development of the Program:
The Saturday Academy was unique in the Washtenaw County area because it was community based and community developed. This was important for students and parents who often felt they did not have a voice in developing programs to support them.
For more than two decades Ann Arbor Public School District had grappled with the question of how to raise academic achievement of all students.
Some of the goals of the program included:
- Increasing the number of youths in math and science classes
- Use of computer based training to explore career opportunities
- Strengthening parental support through effective communication.
The African American Saturday Academy met at Clague Middle School during the school year. Its director, Ms Helen Oliver stated that the Academy is unique in the Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County area because it was community-based, community-developed and community-supported. Over 2500 students and more than 1000 parents have participated in the Academy since its inception in 1989.
Another Ann Arbor had partnered with the African American Academy to engage students in a computer skills-building activities called the Computer Challenge Club. The program introduced students to new technological skills in web design, video production, robotics, or animation. And what’s more, it was fun!