The Focus Center has been working quietly behind the scenes in James Monroe Elementary (JME) for about 10 years.

More than 90% of James Monroe students live below the poverty line. Education experts identify poverty as the leading nonacademic factor in our nation's high school dropout crisis. According to the U.S Bureau of the Census, 19.4% of Norfolk residents live below the poverty line, compared to the national average of 10.9%. We believe that every student is a representative of their family and household and we aim to surround these students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and excel in life. 

Our team of staff and interns connect these children and their families with a wide array of services: resources such as mentoring, tutoring, teacher classroom support, at-risk student case management, social support services, and parent engagement programs. 


Click on the icons below to learn more about our programs at James Monroe!


[TFC intern Sherron] participates in our class just like the kids; she raises her hand to ask questions, and the kids model her. Her internship is ending in a week, but she is going to stay next semester as a volunteer because she has become such a part of the class. She says she loves coming into this room, her heart is invested. And if she isn’t here for a couple days, the kids miss and ask about her—they get so excited for her to come back through the door.

I don’t know if she realized it, but once while she was working with a group of girls on math, I saw one of them get the “aha!” moment. I was watching my student and saw her eyes light up when she finally understood the topic in a way she never had before.
— MS. THOMPSON, fourth grade teacher