Striving and Thriving at Ginn Academy
Achieving a 100 percent promotion rate is an ambitious goal for any high school, but at Ginn Academy, where maximizing potential is a way of life, it is earned year after year. Every fall, the Cleveland public school sets a goal for each student to begin the year with sharper focus, higher ambition and a stronger foundation of support than the year before.
Ginn Academy was founded in 2007 with the purpose of empowering and preparing at-risk adolescent males. Ted Ginn, Sr., well known for his community leadership and as head football coach at Glenville High School, helped establish the academy and continues to serve as its director. Ginn academy, Ohio’s only all-male public high school, incorporates a mentorship-based approach to developing students.
The curriculum at Ginn, aligned with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, is enriched by supportive resources that extend beyond the classroom. Each day begins with a session of encouragement, acknowledgement and accountability to help students start each day with positive momentum. Often, Ted Ginn, Sr. speaks at these sessions, with his trademark motivational energy. Students are further supported by their own mentor, a person who is on call and available to them 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
As a result, the academy has built a culture that places special emphasis on boosting individuality and self-worth.
Devin Hale, a recent Ginn graduate, says his experience at the school helped him become more comfortable expressing himself. Though he has always done well at school, says he knows the importance of encouragement and accountability thanks to the school’s leadership, his mentor and his family.
“Ginn Academy put a big emphasis on the family environment,” says Hale. “That helped me come out of my shell and made me feel supported.”
The welcoming and encouraging approach is one part of what creates a family-like atmosphere at Ginn. The academy is structured to maximize individual interaction between staff and students, with smaller class sizes and full-time youth support staff. Students and their families often develop strong, positive relationships within the academy.
Ginn Academy’s success with individualizing the student experience has earned the attention and support of community leaders, including KeyBank.
The KeyBank Scholars Program was launched with a KeyBank Foundation grant in 2016 to support academic performance, student development and college enrollment. The program was designed to complement Ginn’s efforts to prepare students for their future, and gives, students opportunities to develop financial wellness and investment skills and secure internships with local employers.
Taking advantage of the program’s academic support helped Devin Hale become the valedictorian of his class, and that’s somewhat of a Hale family tradition since his uncle and brother were also valedictorians.
Another of the program’s initiatives, preparing students for college through admissions test prep, helped Hale win a full ride to Youngstown State University, where he will study mechanical engineering.
Devin is grateful that throughout his time at Youngstown State, he will have a support system at the academy to call on if needed. He is also eager to draw on his experience at the academy to support others.
“Since I was always more reserved, I kept things to myself and wouldn’t express my ideas,” says Hale. “Now I’m more motivated to step up and support others with their ideas.”
With class after class of successful alumni like Hale carrying the Ginn model of scholarship, leadership and service out into the world, Ginn Academy’s impact will be felt far and wide for generations.
*Banner image © Karin McKenna. Used with permission.