Youngstown’s Academy for Urban Scholars plans in-person classes to continue reaching inner city

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The school's mission is to help students who have dropped out of high school and are now pursuing a diploma

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – As many school districts remain in discussion about their fall curriculum, the Academy for Urban Scholars is ready to open its doors.

“We take it to heart because the majority of the individuals who work at this school was born and raised in Youngstown,” said school director Sabrina Jones.

The Academy for Urban Scholars is an alternative school in Youngstown’s inner city. The mission is to help students who have dropped out of high school and are now pursuing their high school diploma.

“Every nine seconds, a kid drops out of high school. In particular, in the Black community, it’s probably more. The need for African Americans to have an opportunity to get their high school diploma is great here in Youngstown,” said John Gregory, president of the Academy of Urban Scholars.

Gregory said they’ve seen a lot of success throughout the program, educating individuals as young as 14 up to 100 years old.

“We have graduated a number of students, and we have had students who have gone on to college or went and got post-secondary careers.”

As the pandemic continues, the Academy had to make a decision on how it would have classes. Jones said they decided to keep their classrooms traditional, but with extra precautions.

“We’re going to make sure, at the front desk when they come in, their temperatures will be taken. We will provide masks, handwashing and those students will enter the building.”

Additionally, each student will have their own book bag and supplies.

“That’s to ensure that we don’t have a lot of handling with pencils and paper,” Jones said.

Even with all of these safety measures, students will still have to show up. Jones said that won’t be an issue because the Academy does a good job of building relationships with students and parents.

“Our students know if they don’t come to us, we will come to them. We have engagement coaches, we do home visits and phone calls. Our job is to ensure we’re removing all barriers for our students.”

She said the Academy of Urban Scholars’ cause is deeper than COVID-19 — it’s about restoring the community and hope that’s been lost.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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