In 2012 a core group of members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Worth, Texas, wanted to have a bigger impact on public schools, particularly Daggett Elementary, an inner-city school located near the church. Because research suggests that 4th graders have reached a higher level of reasoning and are open to new ideas and experiences, this group believed targeting 4th graders would have the biggest impact on students. This core group, in conjunction with the 4th grade teachers, the counselor, and Vice Principal at Daggett Elementary, were tasked to create the most effective program that reached every 4th grader in the school. Over the course of several meetings, Academy 4 was created.
Academy 4 was launched at Daggett Elementary in the fall of the 2012-2013 school year. News of the program and enthusiasm for it spread quickly, and Academy 4 was contacted by DeZavala Elementary, another inner-city school in Fort Worth, Texas. The principal and staff at DeZavala were eager to have the Academy 4 program in the school. In the fall of the 2013-2014 school year, Academy 4 was held in both Daggett and DeZavala Elementary Schools. The program returned successfully to both schools for the 2014-2015 academic year, mentoring over 350 students during the three-year span.
In the 2015-2016 school year, Academy 4 continued at Daggett and DeZavala, as well as started a third school in Austin, Texas at Wooten Elementary. Now the program is in 16 schools (twelve in Fort Worth area and four in Austin). The Academy 4 Board of Directors, staff, and supporters aspire to see Academy 4 in schools all across Texas and around the United States in hopes that every 4th grader would have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and reach their full leadership potential with the support of a caring mentor.