On October 18, Becoming Collegiate Academy Elementary School finally opened in Jacksonville, Florida. The school is entirely inspired by Historically Black Colleges & Universities, and it bolsters their flags at the entrance to the school.
Located in the Gateway Town Center, the founder of the school, Cameron Frazier, wanted to have it centered in a place with the motivation to target students of communities of color and give them an education in which they are put first.
In the ABC’s at Becoming Collegiate Academy, “A” is “Alcorn State University” and “Z” is “Zora Neale Hurston.”
— Renata Di Gregorio (@RenataFCNews) October 18, 2022
There are currently 80 students enrolled in the program who are kindergartners and first graders. It’s still searching for more teachers at this point but intends to expand to fit more grade levels while remaining open.
According to Local Today, Frazier holds representation in the highest regard.
He told the outlet, “We are inheriting best practices from the HBCUs experience. That’s why we let our brown bears have this experience early on. It’s very important that our students see role models that look just like them every day. It is extremely important that our students experience it in elementary school. They need to see Black men teaching them academics, letting them know they are smart, building their identities, having high expectations, and surrounding them with love.”
Frazier concluded, “Our brown bears will one day change the world. You will see the big brown bear, and you will be surrounded by nothing but love.”
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A former student of Frazier, Ahmad Levy, told the outlet that he had his first Black teacher in seventh grade and emphasized how important the work that Becoming Collegiate Academy is. He said, “Seeing someone who looked like me as my teacher really inspired me to take a second look at different things to do in life,” Levy expressed. “I teach now, so I can be that representative for our community.”
The Becoming Collegiate Academy website went a little more in-depth into how the institution intends to utilize HBCUs as a model of primary education/
“The HBCU model of high academic rigor in a supportive learning environment has led to HBCUs holding 9 of the top 10 college slots for producing African American Ph.D. earners. In addition, 70% of African American dentists and physicians and 51% of our nation’s African American public-school teachers received their bachelor’s degrees from Historically Black Colleges,” the website read. “Becoming Collegiate Academy believes there is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated, protected, and replicated in our student’s daily K-12 experience.”