thumbnail of Say Brother; Paige Academy: An Alternative Education; 727
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
You. Need.
Good evening and welcome to say brother. Tonight we're going to devote our attention to our children our most precious asset. Because page Academy has chosen another avenue to educate these children. And we hear it's a brother feel it is a very worthy endeavor. We encourage you to listen and learn from the Academy's founder and director Angela Paige cook. And. Administrative producer Marianne Creighton. My co-host is my producer no more and I'd like to say welcome to all of you like I do and I do believe that Paige Academy is a very unique and you are going down another avenue and you've chosen another ring and I'd like to know how that came about. Well Paige Academy was founded. Out of what I need to have a school where we can develop some scholars. I think that is very important to have. Black scholars in our country. That.
Contribute something to our total growth and development. So the main emphasis of the school is the name implies Academy is not a daycare center or a babysitting service. It is an institution of Sciences and the arts which academy means that the sciences and the arts are the priority. So that. We're trying to give the children an educational experience that really includes a lot of cognitive growth and development. So that was the reason that we. Decided to start the academy. You feel that the curriculum that you have now maybe you can enlighten us on a little bit. Will in fact produce. What you call scholars. Well because the main thing that a Scout needs to know how to do the basic things which are reading writing and arithmetic but they have to know how to do them well and with less self-confidence. So that we provide our children with the kind of curriculum that not only includes those three
items but also in Hansis that with an environment that promotes a more in-depth. Study of science or more in-depth study of some. Of the arts which include dance and art. But. We feel that if a child is given that kind of discipline at a very young age we accept children from three months to 10 years three months three months. When you take your baby at three months will you be surprise the infant class is really very phenomenal. The babies. We have an excellent teacher in the classroom who's been with us for two years and as well as another teacher who's come on this year who really does some of them do really creative things with the children they can. Learn how to. Carry themselves. And a way in which that you know that they feel good about themselves. Anything that they try to do like. Open the door. It sounds like you know an easy thing to do but
you know if you watch children in supermarkets they stand aside and let the mother open the door you know with these children will attempt. And maybe they are big enough but they have that could you Junglee a self determination to try to do that. So that's you know given to the babies the infant class you heard from the seven principles of Kwanzaa incorporated and your whole philosophy of your school. How does that help. And really what does that mean. What school is broken the day. The regular school day is broken down to incorporate the seven principles. The first thing in the morning we have a mulga which means unity and we have a time where we all get together and express our unity for each other we sing songs and we give thanks to each other for being there. Then we have Kudi Junglee which is a time of self-determination that's more structured where the children actually have specific academic. Activities that are prepared for them on different levels depending on their
own growth. Children are not grouped according to age groups according to their development so if there's a three year old who can work with seven year olds then that's where you will be permitted to do then not. You know segregated because she's three NTSB with three year olds and then we have a Colomba time which means creativity where we have lessons in ballet and lessons and art and. We help to have a new program which will be farming. For the children so that each of the principals is specifically designated as a specific segment a segment of the day so that we show that they're incorporated and not left to be haphazardly brought in. That was your major goal is to sort of create scholars with your training to become scholars and you get more specific in terms of the things that within that sort of things you try to teach kids. I mean you mentioned the principles of Kwanzaa. And I know that
includes things like self-respect and what have you but what are the things you were specifically trying to teach. Well recently they just did a unit on heat. We felt that it was very important for them to understand about conservation the use of energy because given the situation that we find ourselves in and here in Boston. We need to find some new alternatives to oil specialty. So we talked about solar the ways in which we could. Turn the school into a solar heat project with ways in which we could conserve heat in ways which we could set up. Show how the sun could be used so they do have specific. Projects to do that. Show them how to utilize that kind of heat. That. Those kinds of things are done as well as. Basic basic knowledge is really important to us but. There those things that are basic for us viable but being able to read well with
understanding just to. Read the paper and say well something is happening is different from being able to understand the history of why this happened. And you know and what we should do to make it not happen again if it was a derogatory thing or what we can do to enhance the planet in our own community if it was a positive thing. So we try to give them the kind of tools where they can really reason well for themselves and not have to have someone else come in and show them how to read. How do you incorporate the principles of Kwanzaa and say days or weeks or activity or throughout your learning process itself. Well each day. Everything that we do really incorporates it because when we're working collectively together the children collectively. Are caring for each other because we have such a wide age span from three months to 10 years. A lot of times the older children will help the younger children do things like tie their shoes so the teacher is not as integral for that kind of thing the principles become integral when the
7 year olds can tie the baby's shoes and they assume responsibility without being asked. It's not like you know well where is the teacher. How come the my shoe isn't tied. It's it's just it's accepted and expected that everyone is going to assist so that cooperative work and responsibility is a part of the everyday ongoing of what's happening. As one example is an administrative administrative producer Marianne. The administrative producer is a title you know like any of. But the work entails taking care of people's writing the daily. Running of the school in terms of making contacts. Summaries and taking care of the business of tuition. Making sure the parents. How are you going to school. How is it funded. How is it funded. Well we are tuition one school basically from tuition. We have received grants from
private individuals. Gifts of money from private individuals but to date have not received any large scale grants Digital Equipment Corporation and Maynard Mass has given us some support and financial support to our summer program last year. Do you find it difficult to encourage I guess at this economically depressed time you would find it difficult to encourage monies coming in. And to encourage. Well. I don't think that it's difficult to encourage monies to come in. Per se because we are so unique. In. Our philosophy and what we're trying to do with. The age range of children that we have. But it's difficult in terms of. Having enough woman man energy to get the work done that needs to be done to submit proposals and do the follow up work on that eventually myself. Has been the only two administrative people to take care of that kind of business.
Recently we got. A secretary who has. Really been a blessing in terms of doing a lot of work that we used to have to. Take time to do. And also the parents most of our parents are working and but they play as much an active role as they can in. Getting the names of foundations to see that money is doing more private individuals that they know who might be willing to send me money so that. You know there's so much to do on a daily basis in terms. Of establishing your credibility as it educational institution because this school an academy that's open to all children. Regardless of race regardless of geographical location regardless of financial income. Yes yes it is on. In terms of race and. Race and ethnic groupings. I would say
that. We serve as primarily black children. Who come from African-American and West Indian American backgrounds. But we certainly do not hesitate to accept any child you know from any ethnic group. It's just a matter of people. Responding to us you know and wanting to put their children in school. There is a tuition and that sort of alleviates some people from. You know bringing their children to us. We do not have welfare contracts were not supported in any way by the Department of Public Welfare so that a lot of parents who might be. Have the need for us might be eliminated because of that our tuition is up something that could happen in the future. We're working on it but at this time the Department of Public Welfare has. Decided or determined that they can. No longer accept.
Work or give contracts to two agencies to new agencies. They are sort of dealing with because of their money situation they are dealing with the agencies that have had contracts with them for years. How long is that. That leads into my question How long has the Academy exist page Academy of existed. This is the second year. So we've been here a year and a half. We've been hearing the name constantly and the same goes I just know going to say five years I don't know I'm going to say the reason they keep hearing the name I think is because of what we're doing and the people who are spreading the word about us are the parents. You know most. Of the children that we have at this school. Were slaves of the children I'd like to see them. OK. Most of the children who are enrolled at this school. Their parents heard from about us through other parents. You know so it's that whole word of mouth. We don't have a huge budget to devote to publicity and public relations. So it's been word of mouth mouth thus
far. Let us take a look now at some of the slides that we have had an opportunity to go into your school and take. And maybe you can there's a glare on the monitor but maybe you can. Help. Help us with what it is we're looking at. OK. Well are these children doing this morning ritual logit time when the children first come as Angel explained before they are all gathered together as a group. With the teachers. This is our facility at St.. We're located. In Roxbury near St. John's St. James Episcopal Church. What where exactly what was the what if 49 Roxbury street in Roxbury. Say and this is one of the teachers and a classroom. Yes sir I can. Yes. And there she is again. Closer. My infant class right now. What is it that she's able to teach these little tiny ones like you know. Well
you'll be surprised that they learn their colors. They learn how small and how to speak and sentences rather than aha you know they can say will you please pass me a glass of water. So that they have their vocabulary is one of very important things that they develop. As well as as understanding of the environment around them in terms of the names of things that they might know that you might not know like the names of instruments or the names of animals. Or the names of. Things that they no one ever took the time to tell them what the name was. This is the chapel that we're renovating to make it to a multi level class room. We're applying for funding to get that renovation done. And we haven't received it yet. We're hopeful to operate two buildings at one time. Right now we have one building that's a building that we're planning to renovate renovation hasn't started yet. This is one of the things that we do every day we talk about the weather and
what's happening in our environment. What are they doing. We grew out of the Black Theatre Company and we have a lot of theater. Brother Why does the guy with his fingers up he's telling them the big one. Right. The number six in there. There. Are six fingers but a lot of our. Class work is. Done from. A theatrical point of view where the teachers really perform kind of for the children and give them a really first show that they look like they just did up there specifically to have their picture taken. Right there they're testing. What's happening here. That's in the infant class room and I think that they are playing some kind of game I'm not. All I can see on the southern monitor here looks like she's taking care of her with powder or something. OK. Yeah I know she's pacing that's what she's doing out there. They made something and they're pasting it. Know. The candles What's the line.
This is during Kwanzaa. We use them the. Candles to represent the Kwanzaa principles and we take a lot of time and talk about what the principles mean in relationship to the African harvest. We also have a garden. That we grow our own fruits and vegetables and herbs and Mary the children. You know. Plant everything in the garden and grow it so they understand what we're harvesting. What are you doing there Westover. You know most of the time is not just for the children it's for all of us because we all need to come together and share it with us as well as being in ministry that you are an educator at the same time. I think yes. Because I have to do. The whole staff Mojo's is unity and we all come together administrative staff as well as teaching staff and children. So there's no separation between what you teach as well and yes yes I teach the older children. Primarily language arts and math.
And your school is accredited through the Boston school system here it's accredited through the Office of Children. OK. So any child wanting to transfer say a seven or eight year old child wanting to transfer from a guess or B what the second or third grade into your school would be able to do that. Yes I would be able to they would have to happen is if a child wanted to transfer. Say a child came to page of what we plan to do is add a grade every year. Right now we have up to second grade. So we want to add a grade here so that we don't get too big for ourselves. We know what we want to grow. You're ready. Yeah right. So that. They the rule that the Boston Public School Committee has set up is that if you come from any private school it doesn't matter what private school the public school has it has a right to test you to find out if you're. Academically at the level that the public school children. We have no problems with that. We feel that we can be tested sort of is what happens to the youngsters who are now in.
Who are now in classes. And you were sort of answer that by saying that you are really starting to build on the new class every right so that we will lose our older children they will just keep growing until we are complete elementary school which will be. So that's actually something you don't last to read an average of two years. So last year we had. Our first grade and then this year we have a second grade. How I imagine that the parents involved in your work is involved in school in terms of having their kids they're pretty much supportive of you. What has your philosophy in your school met with a lot of support from the community in general and what the business community in Roxbury Dorchester Boston area. Have you been given the kind of support that maybe is necessary at a sort of grassroots level sort of to help you with this struggle. You know there major struggles with international foundations and the government what have you. Well. I would say that. In terms of of economic support there hasn't been much from community organizations. We have a working relationship with lots of action
programs. Annually we celebrate share shared responsibility for the community. Kwanzaa celebration. But. You know that is primarily that is our crime. Community organization in terms of relating to them and knowing that they will be supportive of us and we have them. To have any relationship whatsoever with the public school system. Here as well as just sort of curious whether or not. That happens. OK. What would your educators come from your teachers. They don't come out of the having normally are already taught over in the Boston school system or some other school system in the state. Where they might have had in another system and another are not necessarily from Boston. But one thing I found about Boston is he was a transit here that you can get someone who might just be in Boston to come from Washington has been teaching there. So that. We most of the teachers that we have had thus far have been teachers who have taught
and alternative schools and have preferred that to public schools. So that they have a concept of what it means to struggle in an alternative school where you don't have. The kinds of. You know. Textbooks. That are because you think that you might have public school. Equipment that they would have most of our equipment the teachers. Have made a lot develop their own equipment. That we have purchase a lot of equipment too. But still to just a more responsible for developing their equipment ideas that I was going to ask you about the the testing approach and if you had one in fact and just from what I remember and courses of toxicology over Harvard there were constant tests that. Children of different ethnicities. And especially the the infant to 12 months was constantly put through a barrage of
tests now I was at the end of the test. I was always told well you're not really supposed to determine anything by the end of this test. But the child has to go through this test to see if the reflexes are normal reflexes. Since you bring in infants. From three months old upward do you ever go through any of those kinds of tests. And if so what types. Do you choose. Well the test is being primarily developmental which would mean testing whether or not a child would turn his head if he heard a sound or if he would be able to grasp and reach something a walk at a certain age. And we do periodically make those checks just just to make sure that our children. Are. Doing. What the national norm has stated as being average. But we found that the children have far exceeded those those norms so that now that they're really obsolete in our program because we are just doing so much more. The children are just really doing a lot more than what is expected from. An 11 month show.
Is always supposed to be able to walk and say two words we're at our 11 month olds speaking in paragraphs and you know in terms of genetics and looking back into maybe a middle class family has brought the child to academy and maybe a lower income family has brought the child to your academy. Have you seen what has always been put upon us. A difference in terms of their responses and their progress. To have the choice. To make. I've already begun to answer is a good thing. No no no no because they are both children being stimulated from the same environment by the same teachers so that. Perhaps they would have been very much limited in a public school setting or in a place where were less is expected of them. But we have the same expectations of all of our students and it doesn't matter. I mean we're we're all
poor to some extent. OK we are all very very rich. And that is what is. Emphasized our natural resources our natural richness is what is emphasized the positive in the of the previous studies. From what you can find just through experience that have been done to try to prove. That coming from a lower income. Bring bring forth children that are supposed to be lower in terms of intelligence are not very valid and not valid at all in terms. No not at all in terms of the children that we see a page you can see and we do service. I mean we're in the black community. You know one thing to serve is low income families. You know. One of the things too is that most of the tests that the Stanford Benay. Kind of tests. Are actually very racially biased. There has been a book that has just come out called human intelligence. And it was a lot of.
Controversy about this book it was it was presented at the Harvard university educational conference about a year and a half ago and there were people there. Who. Were very opposed to it because they have genetically already stated that Jensen specifically that blacks are inferior. And this book points out the fact that. Historically it has been set up. The tests have been set up to. Make sure that they are shown to be inferior. That in fact the kinds of questions that were asked like what is a hit when you live in the inner city. You've never seen a hedge. Whereas if you might ask a person in the suburbs. What is this. As a sidewalk. They might you know not call it a pavement. I mean it's like it is the terminology is very important so that. If you ask any inner city what does that tell you they don't know what it does but there's no that's no reflection on their intelligence just that we don't have hedges we have. To know
things that you know. Another time I know nothing. But this book really points out specifically how the tests have been really designed to. To. Show the fit to make it seem as though that black children are inferior in intelligence. There was another test that has just been aired nationally it was on the news last week stating that. The national survey had shown again that black children had tested way below the percent and the Veyron has a lot to do with that. I think that the teachers have a lot to do with it as well. Even if you have a very rich environment that has all kinds of paraphernalia if you don't have someone in there who specifically committed to making sure that the child the child gets answers to the questions that they might have they're going to fool around with the things that they might not necessarily know how they function properly or what the right way to use it is so that the teacher we feel that I have a plaque on my wall in my office that says. If the student has learned the teacher has taught
Say Brother
Paige Academy: An Alternative Education
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-6w96688p3t).
Program focuses on the work of Paige Academy, a private school in Roxbury for children aged three months to seven years. Hosts Barbara Barrow and Melvin Moore speak with Paige Academy Founder and Director Angela Paige Cook and the Academy's Administrative Producer, Mary Ann Crayton, to discuss the school's origins and practices, such as teaching by the nguzo saba (the seven principles of Kwanza). Program includes slides of Academy students.
Race and Ethnicity
Public Affairs
Rights Note:It is the responsibility of a production to investigate and re-clear all rights before re-use in any project.,Rights:,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 919efb5412ca530c7a93b6650fce20cbd5dee448 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
Format: video/quicktime
Color: Color
Duration: 00:00:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Say Brother; Paige Academy: An Alternative Education; 727,” 1977-05-02, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “Say Brother; Paige Academy: An Alternative Education; 727.” 1977-05-02. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: Say Brother; Paige Academy: An Alternative Education; 727. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from