Dan McElwain was a founding teacher at a Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high school initiated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Model Secondary Schools Project and simultaneously volunteered at a local Saturday morning kids Bible school. Middle school students at the Bible school consistently flaunted straight-A report cards but could not read at all. Six of those students became part of TBAS’s first class. TBAS acknowledges the potential of each student, teaching that they are “God’s Masterpiece created to do good works God has prepared for them to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
In 2005, TBAS opened in a church basement teaching middle school students the alphabet and how to read. Today, we continue to adapt to the changing needs of our student population. We are seeing an increase in students with autism, as well as gifted students who are struggling to thrive in traditional classrooms.
Students participate in our Advisory program. Advisory addresses personal growth and character development through Christian principles and relationship-building. Students also learn about themselves (personality profiles and love languages, etc…) and plan their transition to high school.
TBAS partners with Youth Outdoors, an outdoor education program through the Cleveland Metroparks. Students enjoy hiking, skiing, rock climbing, canoeing, and fishing while developing courage, patience, and personal maturity.
Throughout the years, we have prioritized hands-on learning experiences, such as art and music classes, woodworking, coding Arduino microcontrollers, Lego robotics, and small engine repair. Our students usually make remarkable progress in their reading, writing, and math skills and post significant improvements in their scores on state tests. Most students improve their relationship with school, grow up tremendously, and learn how to advocate for themselves in high school.