Advancing Black Lives in Education, Inc. (ABLE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established by a small group of former educators, administrators, school board members, and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) parents initially to address the needs of Black children and families in the wake of the virtual learning environment that was necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our commitment to serving Black children and families continues in earnest, driven by our VISION and MISSION.
ABLE is committed to:
Supporting Black children in recognizing and using their educational talents and abilities to reach their highest academic potential.
Providing research-based academic intervention that supports the reinforcement, growth, and sustainability of educational success for Black children.
Empowering Black parents to effectively advocate for schools to address the educational needs of their children.
EMPOWERING BLACK FAMILIES
by working together to actively engage in their child's education, to ensure academic success and social-emotional growth
SANKOFA is an African word in the Akan Tribe from Ghana. It symbolizes the importance of critical examination and patient and intelligent investigation the Akan people used in their search for knowledge. They believed that as time passes, there should be movement and gains in new learning. The symbol of the word is a mythical bird whose feet are firmly planted in a forward position walking forward as it looks backwards and uses past learnings.
FA (look, seek and take)
ABLE’s vision and mission supports the Akan people’s beliefs that using knowledge of the past will guarantee a strong future.
ABLE SANKOFA Design by Michele Thomas-Holt
NATALIE THOMAS, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Natalie has been an educator for 45 years with a master’s degree in Education and post graduate studies in special education. She worked in several teaching capacities in the Montgomery County Public Schools for 37 years as a classroom teacher – Kindergarten through 6th grade, a gifted and talented teacher, reading specialist, and Title I instructional specialist. During her tenure with MCPS she taught test-taking skills to help high school students prepare for the SAT, participated in curriculum development, and provided systemwide staff development training in reading instruction.
After retirement from MCPS in 2012, Natalie taught developmental remedial reading and English classes at Montgomery College and was an adjunct professor in the Education Department at Washington Adventist University. She is currently a professor in the Special Education Department at Towson University at the Universities at Shady Grove where she teaches and supervises pre-service teachers during their senior year of study.
Natalie serves as a community stakeholder representative on the MCPS Reimagining, Reopening, and Recovery committees addressing equity in hiring practices, the achievement discrepancies between Black students and students of other races, and the safe and successful reopening of schools.
A resident of Rockville, MD, she is the mother of a son who graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools. She has a steadfast commitment to the educational successes of Black children.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela