It’s not difficult to locate a private school in Tyler, unless you’re looking north of Front Street. In fact, if you were looking there before Promise Academy began in 2015, you would have to travel back in time the better part of a century. Promise Academy is the first faith-based school in North Tyler in 80 years.
When I met with Sarah Cumming over the phone, she surprised me with this historical fact. It speaks volumes about our town’s division, growth and interests.
Sarah surprised me a second time. She told me that some families of Promise Academy pool tuition to ensure their children can attend. That’s right, they pool their money. While I have experienced parents pooling rides, time and skills to organize school events, pooling tuition is a whole new level of sharing.
Such is the spirit of some of Promise Academy’s families. According to Sarah, one of the common behaviors of families who share the school’s 75702 location — whose poverty levels are nearly triple of other Tyler zip codes — is the ability to give and receive help.
Sarah talks about the joys and challenges of educating students in North Tyler, and how much of Promise Academy’s hands-on, nurturing practices feel stunted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Like many local leaders, Sarah is picking up new procedures and skills to give her students the best she and her staff can offer in precarious times.
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