Middle School


Middle School & Summer Program

The Need

8th grade math and English scores are on a 3-year decline according to Oregon state testing statistics for the 2018-19 school year.

Currently, 53.2% of students are proficient in English Language Arts and only 38.3% are proficient in math. Percentages are even lower amongst students of color and those economically challenged.

For young people, one of the most difficult transitions is the one from elementary to middle school. The Maurice Lucas Foundation Academy consists of Middle School and Summer Programs designed to create a positive middle school transition by growing students’ capabilities and confidence. Our program focuses on academics, character development, and community. We challenge our students to improve every day. Our commitment is to develop life-long learners, who feel empowered to use their individual and collective voices.

Our Approach to Academics

We work with the schools to track each student’s academic progress weekly and provide customized support when needed to keep them on track. We collaborate with their teachers and parents to make sure students complete and turn in their homework, and most importantly, we provide personalized tutoring and support when needed.

Character Development is Critical

Our guiding principles, or Seven Pillars, form the foundation of our programming as we partner with families, teachers, and schools to build resilient citizens and leaders. The Seven Pillars -- goal setting, integrity, leadership, respect, hard work, personal responsibility, and positivity -- are not mere words we place on a wall. Our objectives are to bolster character development that will serve the students well not only in middle school, but throughout their lives. For example, students who learn personal responsibility will be more likely to complete homework independently.

Using Physical Activity to Learn Lessons

Sports and other physical activities create ways for students to engage and practice life’s larger lessons. Students spend one hour in the classroom focusing specifically on the 7 Pillars, followed by one hour in the gym where they apply what they have learned through sports and physical activities. Emphasizing self-confidence and self-worth is routine in these lessons, building resilience for the challenges and opportunities of middle school.

Experiences that Expand their Dreams

To expand our youths’ vision of the future, the Maurice Lucas Foundation invites outside speakers to share their knowledge and life experiences and emphasize the value of practicing the seven pillars throughout their life. We also include enriching field trips such as a visit/tour of a college like Oregon State University, a day at a sports camp, Trail Blazer and Portland State University games, and to companies such as Nike and Under Armour. These trips inspire students to dream big and consider their post-high school education and career goals. 

Academy During COVID-19

Our Academy program has become even more essential due to the COVID-19 crisis and the educational ramifications of inequitable access to the distance-learning currently provided by schools. While the educators are working extremely hard to maintain school year gains, compared to a normal year, “elementary and middle school students are likely to start school in the fall equipped with only about 70% of those reading and writing skills and with 50% or less of the expected gains in math.” (Source: The Oregonian on April 16) Our program is set to provide support for these core subject gaps with three dedicated hours weekly of after-school targeted academic support.

The Maurice Lucas Foundation recently expanded the Academy program into summer to make it comprehensive and year-round with a holistic approach to outcomes. Students are invited to participate in our summer school program which focuses on sport activities and includes reading and math to minimize summer learning loss, thus keeping students on track for success. During COVID-19, with the limitations of social distancing, we have emphasized STEM, reading and art studies.

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