The Motley Fool has "adopted" D.C. public charter school Thurgood Marshall Academy for Foolanthropy 2010. We'll be making a Foolish donation and organizing employee volunteers. We encourage you to do the same -- at any worthy organization in your own community. To learn more about TMA, read on.

Thurgood Marshall Academy is a law-themed public charter high school founded on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's belief that all children have the right to a first-class education. Thurgood Marshall Academy's mission is to prepare students to succeed in college and to actively engage in our democratic society.

In order to accomplish our mission, we function as both a school and a youth development organization by integrating a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum with in-school and after-school support programming such as academic tutoring, personalized mentoring, extended summer programs, enrichment activities, and one-on-one college guidance. To provide these supplemental programs, we have developed a network of partnering organizations that provide financial and in-kind support and more than 250 volunteers. These efforts have led to impressive academic and personal growth among our students, including 100% college acceptance for all six graduating classes, as well as the highest standardized test scores among all open-enrollment high schools in the District.

Role in the community
Although Thurgood Marshall Academy serves students throughout the District of Columbia, 93% of students live in Ward 8, which has the highest rates of poverty in general (36%) and of children in poverty (47%) in the District. High school and college graduation rates are also the lowest in the city and among the lowest in the nation; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the D.C. College Success Foundation estimate that only one in three students in Wards 7 and 8 graduates from high school within five years, and only one in 20 earns a college degree. Poverty and social distress along with limited educational opportunities lead to extraordinary educational deficits among the area's youth. Testing by Thurgood Marshall's staff reveals that incoming ninth-grade students typically have reading and math skills that average in the fifth- to sixth-grade range. Such scores, typical for the area, indicate that students are ill-prepared for high school, and -- without the broad support of an institution such as Thurgood Marshall Academy -- have little chance of attending college.

Fools at Thurgood
Motley Fool employees will participate in a range of volunteer opportunities at Thurgood Marshall Academy, including teaching financial literacy and budgeting workshops to students and parents. In addition, the Fool will donate $0.10 for every article comment, blog post and blog comment, and discussion board post made throughout the campaign (Nov. 29 through Jan. 7), up to $20,000.

To learn more about the school, or to make a donation, you can visit TMA's website here.

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