Eight years ago, Principal Jabali Sawicki welcomed a group of 6-year-old boys to the first grade at Excellence Boys Charter School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn.
But before they had set foot in the classroom, Principal Sawicki had visited each student at his home and read them Dr. Seuss’s Oh,...the Places You’ll Go! He told each scholar something most of them had never heard before -- that that they were on their way to college.
Today, Excellence Boys Charter School – one of the many middle schools run by Uncommon Schools-- serves 450 young male scholars from kindergarten through eighth grade. 99% of the students are African-American, a population that has been largely underserved and overlooked by school systems for decades. Excellence Boys, with the help and shared vision of Robin Hood, set out to reverse that trend.
On June 21, Excellence graduated its first class, and the scholars took a gigantic step forward on their path to college graduation. Many will be attending Uncommon Charter High School, a school that Robin Hood helped to build and continues to fund, just down Atlantic Avenue. Here they will join with students from four other Uncommon middle schools to form the school’s freshman class.
Over the past eight years, Excellence Boys has become one of the highest performing public schools in New York City. In 2011, Excellence Boys outperformed public schools in its district by 30 percentage points in English Language Arts and by 40 percentage points in Math. Where many saw failure and mediocrity, we saw an opportunity to prove that race and class don’t have to be the sole determinants for destiny in life. Excellence’s mission is to ensure that all of their scholars enter, succeed in and graduate from college. Robin Hood is proud to support this mission and the work of the Excellence teachers, staff and most importantly, its scholars and families.
We can’t wait to see what the future hold for this incredible group of young men.