Maxine Mimms Academies
Publicity, praise for Mimms Academy

Hip-hop and Hope

The Tacoma News-Tribune reports...

Eleven-year-old Booker Beaver has been suspended from school more than once, a punishment that in the past meant staying home and playing video games.

This time is different.

He's attending class five days a week at the Maxine Mimms Academy, a new community program for students suspended or expelled from Tacoma middle schools.

Booker says he prefers the academy over McIlvaigh Middle School.

"But we don't want to stay forever," said Booker, who was suspended for fighting. "This is just to calm us down."

Maxine Mimms, a respected educator who founded the Tacoma branch of The Evergreen State College, spearheaded the creation of the program in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood.

Mimms was concerned about the many youth suspended from Tacoma schools - especially at a time when state graduation requirements are increasing and schools with low test scores face federal sanctions.

Each year, hundreds of the district's 17,000 middle and high school students receive short-term suspensions of up to 10 days. Scores of students receive longer suspensions.

Setting kids on the right path

In a recent editorial, the Tacoma News-Tribune wrote...

Youngsters who get suspended or expelled from school are often on a detour to failure. But at least for some of them, Maxine Mimms is a roadblock, determined to send them back on the right path.

The Maxine Mimms Academy on Tacoma's Hilltop takes in up to 12 students at a time who have been suspended from Tacoma's middle schools for offenses ranging from fighting and possession of drug paraphernalia to bringing a weapon to school.

Instead of hanging out, getting in trouble and falling further behind their classmates, they get seven hours daily of personal instruction that will help prepare them to succeed when they re-enter public school.