Thursday, December 13, 2018

Black Students Matter

November 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Feature

The Anderson Academy of Mathematics and Science is creating a legacy in Las Vegas.

Dr. Tamara Anderson with Anderson Academy student

Once labeled as home to one of America’s worst public school systems, Las Vegas has had its share of trials in the area of education. And there is ongoing frustration over educational disparities between black and white children in Clark County.

Operated by the husband-and-wife team of Drs. Tamara and DaJuane Anderson, the Anderson Academy of Mathematics and Science has been operating for a year in Nevada. It has taken on the task of giving black children a quality education — at a private school hinged on a college prep curriculum.

“We decided that the children in Las Vegas needed more,” said Tamara. “So our mission was to open up a private school once we moved back to Las Vegas. Las Vegas has afforded us the opportunity to present a more culturally rich curriculum — introducing black children to who they are and where they come from. We wanted more autonomy, and to be hands-on in the areas of mathematics and science, which is where our children suffer most.”

The Andersons are lifelong educators with graduate degrees in Curriculum Instructional Education and doctorates in Educational and Organizational Leadership. When they moved to Las Vegas in 2001, both were quickly hired to teach at what was then the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.

“We worked at [Agassi] from 2001 to 2007, when it received exemplary status,” said Tamara. “My husband was the head math teacher there at the time, and students in our classes always had the highest scores. We knew the formula to make an academic difference in our students — and we knew we would need to open up our own school.”

Dr. DaJuane Anderson instructs students.

They moved to various cities after departing Agassi, but the need in Las Vegas weighed on their hearts. They returned to the city to fulfill their dream of opening up their own private school.

“Our demographic, our dream, and passion is centered on making a positive educational difference with African American children,” said DaJuane. “Today, the most absent thing in the public education’ classrooms is the African American male teacher. There are only one percent of black male teachers in America in the public school system. This is not only a tragedy for black students, but for other students who are being denied the opportunity to see positive images of a black male.” The Andersons say bureaucracy is to blame for diminished attention to the needs of children in public schools. They believe that public schools accept — and are complacent about — the disconnect between parents and their children’s education.

“Education has to be child-centered — meaning the needs of the children have to come first,” said DaJuane. “If you look at local newspapers, you will only read about educational funding, buildings being constructed, new hires within the system, and salaries. You rarely read about the students themselves and their educational needs and results. Some school systems know that there is money in the struggle, and that is why we never really see a positive change for our children.”

Anderson Academy Students

Added Tamara: “I tell our parents that they are their child’s first teacher — and it is mandatory that they are engaged in their children’s education at our school.”

The Anderson Academy of Mathematics and Science teaches grades 1-9, and provides individual curriculums for each student.

“We are so excited, because this year our first-graders received 90% on the Iowa Standardized Test Exam,” said Tamara. “It wasn’t magic — it was just teaching. Every student that enters our school is below grade level or barely at grade level. Our cultural base has a lot to do with our success rate. We don’t do Black History Month — we incorporate black history into our daily curriculum, because it’s American history.”

For additional information about the Anderson Academy of Mathematics and Science, call (702) 409-0495.

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