The McRae-Gaines Learning Center, Inc. has been part of the community of Selma, Alabama since the 1970s. Though the Learning Center began as a private school founded to serve as an alternative to the public school system primarily for African-American children, over the years it has evolved and serves both bi-racial children and children of other ethnicities. McRae-Gaines Learning Center has educated several thousand of children in this community for almost 38 years assisting those children in realizing their potential by utilizing a non-traditional approach to educate them.
Furthermore, the founders of the McRae-Gaines Learning Center envisioned a day-care center and pre-school that would give children of color and low-income children an advantage when they entered the public school system. They realized that the money a person earns should not determine the quality of education that his or her children receive. Their premise was that if we begin to teach children the alphabet, numbers and recognition of shapes and colors, and small words at an earlier age the children would begin to read and reason earlier. Thus, they will have an equal chance to keep-up and even surpass children from more advantaged environments. The school began with only a handful of students but is now certified to educate 165 children. Currently enrollment is 112 children between the ages of 18 months and eight years-old.
The goals of the McRae-Gaines Learning Center are very basic but always evolving:
1. To educate pre-school and elementary school age children holistically, by utilizing social skills, family, religion, the arts and academics;
2. To teach young students discipline and instill in them the desire to strive for excellence through a curriculum that builds self-esteem;
3. To continually expose young students to the arts, science and history by utilizing local artists, writers, performers, business and industry leaders, scientists and historical figures to teach them about the opportunities available to them;
4. To make sure that the first school experience for our students is one of academic excellence, but filled with fun, love and exploration;
5. To offer more innovative educational programs to our students that will keep them on the cutting-edge; and
6. To offer our teachers the opportunity to get further education through programs at local colleges and community programs.
The McRae-Gaines Learning Center partners with the Wallace Community College in Selma to provide single and low-income parents with affordable child care. It is also a certified provider of child-care and pre-school programming for the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources.
Graduates from McRae-Gaines have continued their educations in local public and private school and have gone on to colleges and universities throughout the United States. Today they serve their communities as teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects, community developers, and government officials to name a few professions.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
We have known the current director of the school, Sadie Moss, for over thirty years. Sadie was a fifth grade teacher at Cedar Park Elementary where she served diligently before moving to the position of Elementary Counselor. Her leadership soon earned her a promotion as the only Elementary Guidance Counselor Coordinator in the State of Alabama. Sadie has always held the best interest of children as paramount.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Make funding for child care and pre-schools more accessible.