Mr. Roy Thomas was a 2nd-5th grade teacher at Frank D. Parent Elementary school in Inglewood, California for six years prior to making the transition to the city of Carson to teach 6th-12th grade at Magnolia Science Academy-3 (MSA-3) in 2006. At the time, MSA-3, part of the Magnolia Public Schools network of schools, was a brand-new charter school on the campus of Curtis Elementary School.
MSA-3 came with a new set of challenges for Thomas, including supporting a large portion of socio-economic disadvantaged families.
“Honestly, I wanted to start teaching and supporting kids from the inner city that I could prepare for College,” said Thomas.
In 2019, Thomas was promoted to Dean of Students at MSA-3 after winning two NAACP awards for Teacher of The Year and publishing his book, “Seed to Success.”
Since the pandemic, Thomas has worked diligently to make sure all students are learning in virtually. Like many schools across the nation, MSA-3 received the Cares Act funding. However, unlike many, MSA-3 opted to use the funding to purchase each student a Chromebook laptop and a portable WIFI device to close the digital divide.
Thomas stated, “Our Principal is fantastic, he made the call to purchase the technology. Prior to this decision, many students did not have laptops or Wi-Fi.”
Although it has been a challenging since the pandemic broke out for MSA-3 students and staff, MSA-3s Principal Mr. Zekeriya Ocel and Magnolia Public Schools CEO & Superintendent Alfredo Rubalcava have committed to ensuring every student has the tools to succeed in their classes and not fall behind.
Magnolia Students are still passing at a 95% rate; however, their overall grades have fallen. Students who previously received A’s are now getting B’s and students who previously received B’s are getting more C’s. Staff has also been impacted, especially those teaching Special Education and English Learners. As a result, Thomas alongside MSA-3 leadership have rolled out free counseling to all staff members to address these challenges.
There is good news, there has been a significant improvement with students from the Spring 2020 semester to the Fall 2020 semester. “Now that students are into their third semester of online classes and have adapted to virtual learning, we are confident their grades will bounce back,” said Thomas.
Presently, Thomas is overseeing the COVID-19 reopening plan with the Magnolia Public School home office. He is heading up the committee to make sure everything is in alignment with and follows local and state health guidelines. The safety of MSA-3s students, families, and staff continues to be of the utmost importance to Thomas.