At a time when grades and test scores usually decline, our program yields results. 96% of 8th grade scholars are accepted into top high school programs and 93% of alumni graduate from college.
When comparing the first quarter to the last quarter of Higher Achievement Richmond scholars’ grades and test scores, we are pleased to report the following academic outcomes:
When comparing the 2013-14 school year with the 2014-15 school year, we are also pleased to report a decline in both absences from school and tardies.
Founded in 1975 in Washington, DC as a grassroots effort to create learning opportunities for children in low-income neighborhoods, Higher Achievement has impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people, and currently operates achievement centers in Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, Baltimore, MD, Pittsburgh, PA, and Richmond, VA.
In 2009, the Richmond School Board invited Higher Achievement to become part of the solution to improving local middle school outcomes in Richmond by helping motivated, yet at-risk, middle school students in greatest economic need navigate a pathway to academic success and on to high school, college and career. After 18 months of due-diligence which ensured the community would be able to support the program both financially and with volunteer academic mentors, Higher Achievement launched its Richmond program in June 2011 with 120 scholars (and a waiting list on the Northside). Higher Achievement is considered the more rigorous after-school and summer program for students who want to go to college and are willing to work hard to get there, regardless of their current grades or test scores.
Higher Achievement's model of rigorous academic mentoring, intensive individualization of service and comprehensive academic support is based on more than 35 years of experience in Washington, DC and guided by leading research for effective out-of-school time programs. The organization was named a winner of the 2010Coming Up Taller Award, given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony. Higher Achievement’s partnership model was highlighted as a best practice by the Harvard Family Research Project, and the organization’s focus on preventing summer learning loss was featured in anMSNBCspecial report,Making the Grade.Most recently, Higher Achievement was a winner of the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation’s Afterschool Innovator Award in 2011
At the request of partner school districts in Richmond and Henrico County, our achievement centers are based in middle schools that have high academic need, serve high percentages of youth and families that earn well below the poverty level, and have school leadership willing to partner and collaborate. Higher Achievement currently serves 265 students combined at Binford, Boushall, Henderson and Wilder Middle Schools. In June 2016 we added two new centers, one at Binford in the city of Richmond, and one at Wilder Middle School, in Henrico County. We serve 6th, 7th and 8th graders from these schools as well as 5thgraders from surrounding elementary schools. All schools are Title I schools with almost 100% of students eligible for Free and Reduced Meals.
Higher Achievement has developed rich partnerships to best serve our scholars during Afterschool Academy and Summer Academy:
· Richmond Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools: A signed three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the District Superintendent and School Board outlines the partnership,including: use of classroom and school facilities,in-kind scholar transportation,custodial services,curriculum sharing and alignment,electronic sharing of grades and test scores,and mutually-beneficial family engagement efforts.
· Communities In Schools (CIS): A partnership with CIS facilitates assistance with school personnel relationships, scholar recruitment referrals,program partner recommendations, collaboration on student behavior management and family engagement strategies.
· Elective partners: Higher Achievement partners with local organizations such as Visual Arts Center, YMCA, Lobs & Lessons and NextUP RVAto provide elective classes for our scholars. Many of our scholars would not have the chance to take part in these activities outside of Higher Achievement.
· Universities: Partnerships exist with the University of Richmond's Bonner Center for Civic Engagement,Robins School of Business and WILL programs,and VCU's Division of Community Engagement with regard to recruitment of summer teachers,volunteer mentors,and staff.
Summer Academy (June - August): For six weeks, Monday-Thursday, 8:00am - 4:00pm, 5th– 8thgrade scholars will be taught math, science, social studies, literature, and an elective, such as music, art, or sports. Scholars will be exposed to curricula, correlated to national and state standards, of the grade level they will be entering in the fall. As a result, their effort will not only combat summer learning loss, but also strengthen areas of weakness while pushing them to new heights academically. Scholars will enter their new grade with confidence and familiarity with the coursework ahead. Scholars will also be steeped in our culture of spirit, respect, excellence, and collaboration with a behavior management system that helps scholars, staff and volunteers uphold these principles.
Scholars will also participate in field trips that expose them to experiences outside their immediate neighborhoods (past field trips have included: learning the inner-workings of the Federal Reserve Bank and touring the Junior Achievement Finance Park). A highlight of Summer Academy is an overnight college trip to help scholars learn that college is a viable option, discuss the expectations of going to college, what it takes to get there, and to begin imagining their lives as college students. They will sleep in campus dorms, eat in dining halls, attend lectures with college professors, and talk with current students about available majors and career paths. Past college trips have included William & Mary, George Mason, VCU, Virginia State, North Carolina Central, and Duke University.
Higher Achievement Richmond anticipates that over the course of Summer Academy and Afterschool Academy, our scholars will:
· Improve school attendance: 60% of participating scholars will improve their attendance,or maintain zero unexcused absence or tardies.
· Improve behavior: 75% of participating scholars will interact respectfully with peers.
· Improve attitudes: 75% of scholars will feel confident in their academic abilities.
Broader Community Impact: Higher Achievement creates lasting change, putting individual students on a path to success,breaking the cycle of poverty for families,and strengthening the social fabric of communities:
· Scholars go on to high school,college,and careers – becoming engaged citizens,active leaders,and change agents in their school and communities.
· Families are given the knowledge and tools to advocate for their children – making their voices heard in their schools,challenging the status quo in their communities,and changing the education landscape for all children.
· Mentors build awareness about education and middle school youth and mobilize networks of people – from corporations to individuals – who otherwise would not be involved in education issues.
· Schools are impacted by scholar success in the classroom – Higher Achievement scholars “raise the bar” for academics,behavior,and social skills among their peers.
· Communities embrace a dramatic shift – a culture where high achievement is the norm and anything less is unacceptable.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia7501 Boulders View Drive, Richmond, VA 23225804-330-7400 | www.tcfrichmond.org