The most ambitious Fugees Family program component is The Fugees Academy. The Academy began as a middle school for boys and has expanded to serve both boys and girls in grades 6-12 in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. The school graduated its first high school seniors in 2016 and currently enrolls over 85 students in 7 grades. This school, the flagship in our growing system, is proud of its 100% high school graduation and college attendance rates.
In the summer of 2018, Fugees Academy relocated its headquarters to Columbus, Ohio as a first step towards nationwide expansion of our school model. The Fugees Academy Columbus opened in August as the first expansion campus in school history. There are plans for more Fugees Academy expansion schools, with Cleveland set to be the next campus to open.
The faculty's teachers are all seasoned educators who come from public and private school backgrounds, bringing career and life experiences that make them unusually creative, empathetic, and adaptable for coping with the challenges that the Fugees students face in and out of class.
Our students achieve academic success thanks to our proven methods and dedicated faculty, more than doubling growth targets in math and reading:
THE FUGEES ACADEMY
For Luma Mufleh and the Board, creating The Fugees Academy became the logical destination as they saw the difference that intense educational focus could make for older refugee children struggling with language. Searching for models, they found no other school devoted exclusively to helping such children overcome their lack of primary-level learning. The Fugees Academy packs a normal K-8 education into three years of middle school. The 6th grade is the critical “catch up” year of transition, moving the child from functional illiteracy to a solid foundation of language skills on which to build. Math, science and other subjects are taught in a manner that drives reading and writing abilities. The goal is to bring these students out of 6th grade as proficient learners, leveraging their strong motivation plus superlative teaching. After 6th grade, the students learn at a pace equal to or faster than peers in a typical public school. The curriculum is designed by the Fugees faculty as “freedom in a framework.” The philosophy is to go deep in a subject to promote comprehension, rather than the broader but shallower approach geared to standardized testing results. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills Test has been administered since 2007 to confirm student progress, and students at The Fugees Academy compare favorably or better with all students attending the area’s two public middle schools. Starting with the current academic year, the Educational Records Bureau Comprehensive Testing Program 4 is being used because it evaluates critical thinking as well as skills and better aligns with independent school metrics. Also, all 8th graders take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the world’s most widely-respected English language test.
At Fugees Academy, students have small classes and teachers who are committed to helping them learn English. Two hours each day will be dedicated to English instruction, and the other subject area teachers will help students reinforce and practice their language skills. It is very common for entering students to perform anywhere from two to six years below grade level expectations. At Fugees Academy, we are committed to meeting these students where they are. Fugees Academy students who commit the time and energy to their growth in this demanding and supportive environment, will, as a rule, perform at or above grade level by the time they graduate. The Fugees Academy emphasizes individual student achievement to give students a sense of belonging through academic and organizational innovation, as exemplified by these proven practices.
Fugees Academy is a year-round program. In addition to the academic program, we also operate an afterschool program, summer camp, and provide comprehensive wrap-around services for students and their families.
Fugees Academy actively engages parents and other caregivers though meetings, events, and by making home visits to each students’ home several times a month. Fugees Academy’s team members are assigned several students who they work with closely throughout the year helping students and their families manage some of the challenges of life in a new country. Team members work with families to update families and answer questions on how a child is doing in school, completing paperwork or questions about the immigration process, help family members find a job, help making or getting to medical appointments and help with food, housing, health & dental insurance, translation services, and access to other essential services.
In the twelve years since the soccer program began, more than 350 refugee children have been engaged with Fugees through soccer and after-school tutoring, dramatically accelerating their English language skills. Currently 23 of the 29 alumni of the soccer and after school program who have aged out of the program are attending college, and six are learning a trade through Job Corps. In May 2016, Fugees Academy graduated its first high school graduating class – 100% of graduates are currently enrolled in college.