Smith Academy for Excellence (SAFE), the tuition-free, all-boys school at 725 Washington Blvd., established six years ago, has seen their enrollment increase to its highest mark at 90 (up from 75 the previous year). According to SAFE Co-Founder and School Leader Corey Smith, their increased student count is among the highest (actual enrollment versus enrollment goals) out of the other 66 charter schools overseen by management company Leona Group.
There are definite reasons for that. More phone calls were made. “We called anybody who had any interest [in our school],” Smith said, who also attributed the increase to their graduates out here impacting their communities, acting as walking and talking words of mouth with their actions and proactivity.
“Our passion is to impact the community by impacting our young men,” Smith said, “to teach academic service and leadership skills.”
Since Smith, his brother Cameron, and their father Thomas first opened SAFE during the 2012/13 school year, their direction has focused on college and post-secondary occupation prep, using strategies that cater to the brain development of young men. For example, to compensate for the low attention span exemplified by young males, a variety of classroom activities are shuffled.
SAFE graduates 81% of their students, including 78% of their African-American young men, which is 16 percentage points higher than the Indiana average for black males, according to data collected by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.
The academy has placed 46% of their students in college, including 43% of their African-American students. Graduates have gone onto IPFW, Grace College, Huntington University, Indiana Tech, and Ancilla College.
The academy has 42% black enrollment; the state average is only 12%.
“It’s been exciting to see the impact we’ve had on young men’s lives,” Smith said. “We’re really looking forward to expanding our program and continuing to impact our community, as we’re able to effect the lives of more young men in even greater ways.”