The SMART Academy evolved from a mentoring program at Toney Elementary that was initiated several years ago through the efforts of KAA members Genard Medley, a coach and Health/PE Teacher at Toney Elementary, and Project Uplift President, Ron Shinault. This program began as a Saturday morning tutorial program with a few students in 2000. The improved test scores that resulted, peaked interest in the Saturday morning tutorial and led to a request to expand the program and establish the SMART Academy .
When the SMART Academy began, more than 200 students enrolled in the program. Today, attendance has exceeded 50 students per week and continues to thrive due to the voluntary support of parents, the community , and members of KAA. Scheduled activity days have included a Science and Technology Day, An Outdoor Experience, which included a demonstration from the Buffalo Soldiers, and a variety of Drama/Theater presentations.
Project Uplift and the KAA Chapter’s long association with Toney Elementary School has led the Chapter to be formerly designated as Toney’s Partner in Education by the Partners in Education Foundation of the DeKalb County School System.
Other KAA and Project Uplift activities on behalf of Toney include:
- A fully-funded annual motor coach trip to Historically Black Colleges and points of African American historical significance that includes students from neighboring Wadsworth Elementary School;
- A donation of $ 6000 for a classroom library program;
- Sponsorship of an annual “Turkey Bowl” football game between Toney and Wadsworth;
- Sponsorship of the Annual Black History Program;
- Participation in the annual MVP honors day program.