Race & Class: Chicago Schools Sue State, Claim Minority Kids See 78 Cents Per Dollar Sent to White Schools

KIPP v. UFT: Charter Network Sues Union, Arguing It Doesn’t Represent School’s Teachers

Supreme Court Sets New Standard for Special Ed, Unanimously Rejects Minimal School Progress

D.C. Approves ESSA Accountability Plan That Emphasizes Testing Standards & Transparency

Q&A: Why Miami’s Superintendent, Once an Undocumented Immigrant, Is Banning ICE From His Schools

No Warrant, No Way In: NYC to Prevent ICE Agents From Entering Schools Without Warrants

In California, a New Push for Teacher Tenure Reform as State Bill Would Extend Probation to 3 Years

VIDEO REPLAY: The 74 Moderates a Conversation on America’s Misleading Charter School Narrative

In Pitching School Chiefs on ESSA Plans, 2 Congressmen See Wildly Different Futures for U.S. Education

Effective, Efficient — and Limited: DeVos Lays Out Her Vision of Federal Role to State Schools Chiefs

The Contender: Nick Melvoin’s Plan for Combating Misinformation — and Unseating LA’s School Board President

Is a Maryland Teachers Union Organizer Shepherding Weak ESSA Accountability Bill?

Principal of the Day: This North Carolina School Leader Makes House Calls to ALL 990 Students

Baltimore’s ‘Happy Teacher Revolution’: Educators Band Together to Help Each Other Thrive in the Classroom

Tennessee Legislators Seek State’s First Voucher Law With Targeted Program for Memphis Kids

New Research May Build Discrimination Case for Widely Used Principals Exam

With No Senate-Confirmed Appointees, Who’s Helping DeVos Run the Education Department?

After Heated Partisan Battle, Kentucky Is 44th State to Pass Charter Law

Impact of Weaker Unions in Wisconsin and Other States Much Clearer for Teachers Than Students

The Fifth-Grade ‘Future Chef’: A Grade-Schooler’s Comfort Food Gets Her Closer to National Cookoff

How One Middle School’s ‘Gentlemen’s League’ Is Fueling Extraordinary Results in the Classroom

Photo Credit: The Gentlemen's League

April 14, 2016

Talking Points

So inspiring - this middle school's ‘Gentlemen’s League’ is driving up test scores, driving down suspensions

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

This article is one in a series at The 74 which profiles the heroes, victories, success stories and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles atThe74million.org/series/inspiring.
Learning to tie a tie. Engaging in healthy communication. Many students learn these skills from their parents, but not every kid comes from a stable two-parent household.
At Bellevue Middle School in Memphis, Tennessee, a once-a-week mentoring club has shown that for kids in need, it can make all the difference.
"It's my duty now to be that living proof that you can go through those struggles, you can be low-income, you can have times where your father isn't necessarily there or showing you the right way, and become something," principal-in-training Archie Moss told The Commercial Appeal. "And become something successful."
Photo courtesy The Gentlemen's League
30 young Bellevue men now gather after school for “The Gentlemen’s League.” They’re assigned points for good behavior and academic performance. The reward? Participation in a step dancing team.
A really good step dance team.

"I was really already a gentleman, but I wanted to get better because I have a little bit of an attitude," seventh-grader Darius Smith told the paper.
According to MENTOR, The National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk youth who have mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.
Youth.gov also reports that attendance, academics, and classroom engagement all improve in students with mentors.
Mentoring can make a real difference across the wider district. Shelby County Schools is home to a majority of schools in the state that register in the bottom 10 percent of academic performance. But at Bellevue, the Gentlemen’s League is generating notable results. During the first quarter of the school year, the 30 club members accounted for 20 percent of suspensions at the middle school. By the third quarter, that number had dropped to just 7 percent.
"Mr. Moss really is like a father figure to all of us," sixth-grader Bernard Gallardo told The Commercial Appeal.
Bellevue’s principal Kevin Malone is pleased with the club’s results, telling the paper: "People and kids need something to belong to. When you have a sense of being part of a team or belonging, you're generally going to do better."
Photo courtesy The Gentlemen's League