SUN PRAIRIE, Wis.— At Northside Elementary in Sun Prairie, Wis., 7-year-old Mario Contreras is brushing up on his math skills, on a Saturday.

He’s not the only one working on academics on the weekend.

Contreras is one of about 20 students attending the 100 Black Men Saturday School.  

With support from teachers and volunteers, students get help with math and literacy.

“It gives a targeted approach to the areas where students need assistance most,” said Donald Dantzler.

Dantzler is the education chair for the 100 Black Men of Madison nonprofit; the organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for local youth.  

The pilot program was started to help students in kindergarten through third grade, who suffered from learning loss, which was further exasperated by the pandemic. 

“Research shows if they are tracked by the time they get to fourth grade they are more likely to succeed throughout their educational trajectory,” Dantzler said.

Along with helping the students get back on track, the program is building self-esteem and confidence.

“I am teachable and therefore I can learn. I will not waste time because it is too valuable,” said A’Marion Smith.

The 100 Black Men’ of Madison plan to expand the Saturday School to other schools throughout Dane County.

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