21st Century Academy

Our Mission

21st Century Academy equips K–12 Northside scholars to become accelerated learners, game-changing global leaders and justice-oriented entrepreneurs.
We practice radical hope through healing racialized trauma, academic excellence, artistic expression and innovative activism.

If the Northside Healing Space is the offramp from commercial sexual exploitation, then 21st Century Academy is the barricade to its entrance. Children and youth who are academically engaged, have caring relationships with adults in their lives and are excited and optimistic about their future will have a better chance for a healthy life and more positive long-term outcomes. 21st Century is another example of our faith in action.

We Practice Radical Hope

Practicing radical hope shifts environments from despair, desperation and downheartedness to possibility, wellbeing and future readiness.

We concentrate on youth who are:

  • impacted by racialized generational poverty;
  • devasting trauma due to multiple layers of loss and;
  • the inequity of the opportunity gap.

Data shows that scholars raised in inequity are at a higher risk of:

  • survival sex
  • addiction
  • lack of relationships with caring adults
  • uncertain outcomes for career and wealth building

We create shared experiences between scholars and caring adults

We create shared experiences between scholars and caring adults

These experiences build community, seek to enhance relationships and develop a sense of support.

Results of creating shared experience for scholars and their parents:

  • increased sense of safety and security in the program
  • feeling good about participating in the program
  • recruiting others to participate
  • having trust in the program and staff.

We engage in radical re-imagining

Radical re-imagining shifts the emphasis away from the individual and encourages the scholars to re-imagine a future collaboratively for every person within the community.

Results of radical re-imagining for scholars:

  • feeling engaged more engaged and interested in academic topics
  • increased interest and engagement in topics such as community, justice, equality, leadership and radical ways of being change agents

We believe critical action acknowledges the need for everyone to be involved in creating positive change while recognizing the systemic factors—racism, economic inequality and gun violence—that hamper success.

Results of critical action for scholars:

  • increased positive attitude toward homework and quality time spent on it.
  • positive outlook on their futures
  • increased awareness of their community and world

We change systems

We specialize in preparing Northside scholars for a vibrant life and work to reduce the premature “adultification” that is imposed on African American children. We are an intergenerational collective-impact community, committed to restoring hope, healing and healthy relationships. Our culturally relevant teaching ensures that all of our practices are relational, relevant, real and rigorous. Together we practice radical hope, create shared experiences, celebrate our scholars radical re-imagining and make space for critical on topics of their choice.

Our Impact

Through standardized testing, evaluations, surveys, interviews and focus groups, the data supports key findings:

  • 80% of our scholars are hopeful about their future, including continuing their education and engaging in a career that supports them and their families.
  • 95% of our scholars are three to four years behind grade level when they start the program.
  • 65% of scholars progress one or more grade levels each year in the program.

Community Partners and Funders

Catalyst Initiative at the Minneapolis Foundation
Northside Achievement Zone
Greater Twin Cities United Way
The Minneapolis Foundation
Sheltering Arms Foundation
The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
Youthprise
City of Minneapolis
The Link
Minneapolis Public Schools
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Education
Northpoint Health and Wellness
ReCast
University of Minnesota, School of Nursing
University of Minnesota, School of Social Work

Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center
(UROC)
His Works United
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Valley Community Presbyterian Church
Stillwater Presbyterian Church
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Liberty Community Church, PCUSA
Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
Church of the Apostle
Church of the Way
New Life Presbyterian Church
St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church
House of Hope Presbyterian Church 
Twin Cities Synod of the Lakes and Prairies 
Northside Achievement Zone