School Overview

Jamaa Learning Center (Jamaa) is a free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory, full-service community charter public school that is committed to the holistic development of historically under-served children and families, serving 300 students in grades Kindergarten through 8th.  Jamaa educates and empowers children and families by providing high-quality educational and social services that result in high academic achievement and the sustainable growth and development of a strong community. Jamaa was founded and is operated on the core belief that a key element necessary to holistically develop children with respect to academic achievement as well as positive character, virtue, values, and life skills is a meaningful and longitudinal relationship with an empowered adult.

  • Meaningful- rigorous, intellectually stimulating and challenging instruction in core content areas as well as experiential field lessons and rich extracurricular classes and programs
  • Longitudinal- students remain with same teacher in three-year cycles (K – 2, 3 – 5, 6 – 8 )
  • Empowered Adult- every educator is an individual with a positive self-image and a commitment to community, character, and the achievement of SMART goals who practices total self-care with respect to their mental, physical, financial, and spiritual health

While all Jamaa educators and staff are selected based on their ability and capacity to serve as the empowered adult in the students’ lives, it is our belief that parents and other adults who play a significant role in a child’s life must be empowered as well if there is to be a positive, long-lasting impact on the child’s development.  Thus, Jamaa educates and empowers children AND families through the provision of five (5) core areas of educational and social services, referred to as the “Five E’s”:

Academic Entitlement
Rigorous, college-preparatory K-8 education coupled with educational courses available to all family members of enrolled students

Cultural & Arts Enrichment
Programs and services to stimulate the appreciation of visual and performing arts as well as other cultural offerings

Health & Beauty Enhancement
Services that address the serious deficiency within inner-city health care as well as “luxury” services aimed at ensuring participants possess a positive and healthy self-image

Financial Empowerment
Financial institution offering not only financial management skills training but also micro-financing services that can be taken advantage of by participants at a personal or professional level

Emotional & Spiritual Enlightenment
Programs that encourage and contribute to students and their families recognizing and appreciating their self-worth through the stimulation of their mental and psychological well-being

An underlying principle on which the operation of Jamaa is based is that high expectations are a non-negotiable for everyone involved in the development of Jamaa students- teachers, staff, parents, the community, and the youth themselves.  While maintaining a student-centered focus and sensitivity to the very real social issues and injustices that exist in the community in which Jamaa will serve, Jamaa is creating a culture of excellence and achievement where all children will learn and attain academic success.  At Jamaa, we believe in meeting each child individually and uniquely where they are and taking them all to the same high heights of academic achievement.

Jamaa is located in a historically under-served and economically-distressed area within north St. Louis.  Jamaa students attend school from 8am until 5pm Monday through Friday, although the site will eventually be open until 9pm every weeknight and from 9am until 9pm on Saturdays as part of its commitment to contribute to the development of the entire community through classes and services that help educate and empower the K – 8 students, their families, and the community as a whole.  In doing so, Jamaa will serve as an anchor in the rebuilding of this once thriving urban community in addition to providing children with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in school and in life.