Immigration Fears in California Schools: Report Shows 1 in 8 Students Have Undocumented Parents

MUST-SEE: Social Media-Savvy Students Uploading the Moment They Learn They've Been Accepted to College

3 States Cite School Climate Surveys in Their ESSA Plans. Why Don’t Others Use Culture For Accountability?

Arne Duncan's Next Mission: Helping the Young Men at the Center of Chicago’s Gun Violence Epidemic

Weekend Education Reads: 16 Important Stories on Schools, Students, Policy You May Have Missed This Week

The Best of April: Our 13 Most Popular Articles (and Videos) of the Month

New Study: D.C. Scholarship Students Scored Worse in Math, Particularly in Elementary School

Scratch This: The Fall (and Possible Rise) of State Lotteries in Education Funding

Conservatives Embrace, Progressives Deride Trump’s Order to Scale Back Federal K-12 Role

Faster Internet at School: What’s Next for $4 Billion E-rate Fund Under New FCC Chief Ajit Pai?

As Trump Readies Sweeping Tax Reform, School Choice Experts Argue Merits of Federal Tax Credit Scholarships

U.S. News Ranks America’s Top Public High Schools — and for the First Time, Charters Dominate Top 10

Report: 5 Ways to Address Teacher Shortages — Where They Really Exist

Full Video: Barack Obama Appears at University of Chicago to Promote Civic Engagement

As Outside Spending & Attacks Reach All-Time High, LA School Board Candidates Say Race Is Out of Their Control

VIDEO: James Forman Jr., Legal Scholar and School Founder, on His New Book “Locking Up Our Own”

Why Government Shutdowns Tend to Hurt 4-Year-Old Students Most — and Why This Time Might Be Different

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Names Liz Hall Press Secretary

74 Interview: NY Education Chief MaryEllen Elia on ESSA, Undocumented Students & Turning Schools Around

Make Private School Free or Die: The Fight Over Education Savings Accounts in New Hampshire

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