Academic Support is the ArtWorks for Youth program that has grown the most. The graduation rate in the Eastern Cape is near 70%, though approximately 55% in the areas where our students attend school. This rate is actually close to that of the NYC public school graduation rate, but there is another issue at play here in South Africa. Students in grades ten and eleven are encouraged to leave school if it is assumed they are not going to graduate in 12th grade.
There are currently three separate Academic Support classes at ArtWorks for Youth. Our Literacy Program for students in grades 2 – 5 includes just over twenty students. We have a program for twenty students in grades 7-10 who struggle with writing and reading in English. Finally, we have an advanced class of twenty-five students from grades 7-11.
Our two older student groups are with us for up to four hours each day after school. We provide lessons in reading, writing, math, and Xhosa (their home language.) Students are expected to read two books a month from our library, as well as write one essay a week. While the standards of the South African curriculum are actually quite high, the schools our students attend do not follow the guidelines and they expect very little from students in the way of daily reading and writing.