Magic Johnson to visit Bridgescape Academy

Apr. 04, 2014 @ 05:50 PM

Former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson is coming to town Tuesday to tour the Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy facility at the Holton Career and Resource Center.

Johnson is scheduled to spend an hour at the academy, talking with students, staff, parents and community leaders.

The Bridgescape Academy, which opened in 2012 as an outreach effort to bring dropouts back to school to earn diplomas, is offered through a strategic alliance between Magic Johnson Enterprises and EdisonLearning.

The program offers students a unique learning experience outside the traditional classroom setting, including online learning and one-on-one and small group instruction.

Michael Serpe, director of communications for EdisonLearning, said Johnson has tried to make it a point to visit all 16 Bridgescape academies, half of which are in Ohio.

“It’s something that we feel that’s incredibly important, that he has a physical presence at the schools,” Serpe said.  “He has such an amazing connection to these young people.”

Although Johnson left his beloved Michigan State University two years before graduation to enter the NBA draft, Serpe said he clearly understands the importance of education.

“He went back every summer until he got his degree,” Serpe said. “He wants to see these kids faces and instill his passion for education and tell them that he’s behind them.”

In addition to Ohio and Durham, the academies are located in Illinois, New Jersey and Georgia.

Earlier this week, Interim Superintendent Hugh Osteen cited the recruitment of students to Bridgescape Academy and the Performance Learning Center as major parts of the school district’s strategy to reduce the dropout rate.

According to the state’s Consolidated Data Report for 2012-13, the dropout rate for Durham Public Schools fell from 3.55 percent in the 2011-12 school year to 3.22 percent in 2012-13.

The number of students quitting fell 11 percent, from 362 to 323.

During his visit, Johnson will also introduce the “Friends of Magic” program partner, “One World Literacy Foundation,” and promote the efforts of “Friends of Magic,” a network of individuals, foundations and companies whose mission is to provide students who are at risk or have dropped out, the resources and assistance to graduate from high school.