Providing the Educational Opportunities that Change Lives

Making Waves Today

Making Waves Academy

Ribbon Cutting
Founder & Chair John H. Scully
and Executive Director-Emeritus
Glenn W. Holsclaw

In 2007, we expanded the reach of our vision by opening Making Waves Academy Middle School, a public charter school serving grades 5-8 in Richmond, CA.  Subsequently, the Upper School opened in the Fall of 2011 to accommodate our growing student body in grades 9-12, which will enjoy full capacity in 2014.  Making Waves Academy has an open enrollment lottery application process that is conducted annually.  The annual applicant pool has ranged between 280 and 325 applicants for the 112 places available each year. In our experience, the middle school years are critical to a student’s future and often foretell who will attend college.  Currently we serve 400 students on our Middle School campus and nearly 300 students on our Upper School campus.

Middle School

Founded in 2007, Making Waves Academy is a four-year public charter school with a rigorous academic program for Richmond students in fifth through eighth grades. Students are exposed to a full-day of courses and after-school enrichment at the new modern campus, which provides a comprehensive array of services for students and families to ensure that young people achieve beyond grade level and are on track for college success. In addition to rigorous academics, the school emphasizes core values, including scholarship, social and personal responsibility, integrity, self-determination, and community.

The school features unusually low class sizes, a highly trained faculty and an administrative team that understands student motivations and needs. Making Waves provides comprehensive services for students and their families, including health and nutrition, parental support, cultural enrichment and field trips, summer programs, and transportation. The school is committed to inspiring students to academic excellence and preparing them for high school and other educational endeavors that can change their lives forever.

Upper School

The Upper School, launched in 2011, offers Wave-Makers who have completed Making Waves Academy Middle School the kind of rigorous college-preparatory education typically available to students at elite prep schools. Rich academic course offerings are buttressed with career exploration and individualized holistic supports that enable students to graduate from high school ready to pursue advanced learning and careers that align with their ambitions, passions, and interests. MWA prepares students not just to enter college, but to complete college and aspire to additional graduate and professional degrees.

Making Waves education program

The Making Waves Education Program, founded in 1989, was the impetus behind our current Making Waves Academy. Under the leadership of Executive Director-Emeritus, Glenn W. Holsclaw, this original model supported nearly 600 urban youth and their families, who were selected from Title 1 public elementary schools in Richmond and San Francisco.  From our origins as an after-school tutoring and teaching program, today we have evolved into two charter schools as well as a newly established College and Alumni Program.

Our tremendous success is predicated on a holistic approach that includes an array of services beyond our rigorous academic training, among them transportation, meals, mental health services, parent education, financial aid and placement counseling, college visits, and scholarships.

College and Alumni program

We have always been dedicated to getting students not just to college, but through it. More than 95 percent of Wave-Makers are the first in their families to go to college, so our extensive support services, delivered from inception through Making Waves Education Program, continue to shepherd them through the higher education maze. We provide admission, housing and financial aid counseling and application support, college tours, advice on the selection of courses and majors, ongoing academic and social mentoring, and tuition grants.

Our newly established College and Alumni Program allows us to more effectively accommodate and support our charter school’s growing student population as they reach the college phase of their educational journey.  Our highly experienced team works with college Wave-Makers to help them navigate the challenging high school-to-college transition and, once Wave-Makers arrive on their college campuses, improve their effectiveness in and out of the classroom to earn their degree.  Our College Coaches consistently serve as advocates for more than 260 college Wave-Makers.

Making Waves Foundation

Making Waves Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1989, which is responsible for management and strategic planning, oversight, and external affairs across regarding the communication, public relations and development initiatives to best support Making Waves Academy and our College & Alumni Program.

The Foundation has focused increasingly on expanding the reach of Making Waves to ensure that more young people in the Bay Area can benefit from its programs and services. It is also working to ensure that other communities nationwide can adopt its model or strategic approach, learn from its work, and expand partnerships that make student success more attainable for a broader range of students.