Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time to celebrate 20 years of the Freddie Mac Foundation!

Higher Achievement, D.C. Metro has a lot to celebrate this week. In recognition of the Freddie Mac Foundation’s 20- year anniversary, Higher Achievement created a video to highlight the investments made in the organization since 2000.

Over the years, Higher Achievement has grown in many ways thanks to the strong partnership with the Freddie Mac Foundation. In 2000, Higher Achievement’s operating budget was a small 200,000 dollars, and the Freddie Mac Foundation invested 13,000 dollars to impact 50 scholars. Eleven years later, Higher Achievement, D.C. Metro has grown to a 2.6 million dollar organization impacting over 500 scholars.

Thank you, to the Freddie Mac Foundation for positively impacting the lives of our scholars and the organization since 2000. Congratulations on 20 years!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Groundbreaking Study Proves Impact of Higher Achievement

About the study

Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) and Dr. Leigh Linden from The University of Texas at Austin recently conducted a groundbreaking summer study and 24-month preliminary evaluation (the study, in its entirety, will last 48 months) of Higher Achievement’s rigorous afterschool and summer academic program.

Key findings

The studies find that Higher Achievement's program signifcantly increases students' reading and math scores. Additionally, the findings point to an increase in students' desire to attend competitive high schools.

  • The longstanding Higher Achievement model is making a difference in the academic lives of motivated, at-risk students who could easily fall through the cracks.

  • Higher Achievement's intensive year-round program had a signifcant impact on youth's standardized reading and math test scores.

  • The study also shows that Higher Achievement regularly engages parents, with 64 percent of parents of children attending the program confirming at their first-year follow-up that they spoke to Higher Achievement staff about their child's progress at least once a month.

Looking ahead

Many recognize that there is not one all inclusive solution to improving student achievement, but these shorter-term results show positive momentum and concretely demonstrate the ongoing value of HigherAchievement - a program that warrants, and is undergoing, further research to demonstrate its effectiveness as youth transition from the program into high school.

Higher Achievement embarked on a national expansion in 2009 and currently operates in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Richmond, VA and will open operations in Pittsburgh, PA in 2011.

DC Metro GoingPlaces! Gala – Thank You, Sponsors!

The DCMetro GoingPlaces! Gala is coming up on October 13. A big thank you and shout out to the amazing sponors who have made it possible!

If you’d like to purchase tickets or add your company’s name to this star-studded list, visit us by clicking here.

First Potomac Realty Trust
Bates White Economic Consulting
Quadrangle Development Corporation
Vornado/Charles E. Smith
Freddie Mac Foundation
Annette M. & Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation

Stephen B. Goldstein & Antonietta Corvasce
Clark Construction
Mollie and Sam Schear
Robert H. Smith Family Foundation
Robert & Arlene Kogod Family Foundation
Arnold & Porter

Lehman Smith McLeish
Velsor Properties, LLC
The Jerry Taylor and Nancy Bryant Foundation
Metropolitan Properties
Building Maintenance Service
Douglas Development
ADI Construction
HITT Contracting
Eastern Waterproofing and Restoration, Inc
Artemis Real Estate Partners
Ratner Companies

Mayer Brown
Turner Construction Company
Eastdil Secured/Wells Fargo
Sameer and Nimisha Bhargava
Schindler Elevator Corporation
Otis Elevator

John and Carol Boochever
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Williams & Connolly LLP
OTJ Architects
SIGAL Construction Corporation
Red Coats, Inc.
Cushman & Wakefield
US Bank
Holland & Knight
Raymond & Anne Ritchey
Balfour Beatty Construction
Tom & Alison Cassels
The John Akridge Company
Cassidy Turley
Admiral Security Services
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company - Commercial Services, Washington DC
Mark G. Anderson Consultants
Tishman Speyer
Securitas Security Services
Offit Kurman
Arent Fox LLP
GHT Limited
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architechts
The JBG Companies
Harmon Inc
VIKA Incorporated
Eng Garcia Properties, LLC
USAA Real Estate Company
Forest City Washington
The Kaplan, Small, & Gewirz Families
WDG Architecture
Wilkes Artis, Chartered
Venable LLP
Hartman Design Group, Inc.
Burns & Associates
Restoration East, Inc
The Bresler Family Foundation
Bowman Consulting Group
Kastle Systems International, LLC
Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Western Development
Capital One
Cooper Carey
KeyBank MA
The Eisen Group
Federal Realty Investment Trust
CB Richard Ellis
Kettler Inc.
Donatelli Development
Perseus, LLC
James G. Davis Construction Corporation
Pickard Chilton
Steven Roth

Scott & Jamie Hoffman
Ernie & Julie Wittich
Tadjer Cohen Edelson
Laurie Kramer & Family
Events DC

Art Display
Edge Construction
International Limousine
ECS Mid-Atlantic
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
JP Morgan
Bender Foundation/Blake Real Estate
Atlantic Services Group
Anna Flores
Bohler Engineering
Mitch Bonanno
Federal Capital Partners
The Ezra Company
Ted Billies
Brendan & Delphine Owen
Bruce McNair
Tracy & Adam Bernstein
Shalom Baranes Associates, P.C
Michael E. Kelley
Ober Kaler
Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Global Impact Funding Trust, Inc.
Paul Sowter
Bruce McNair

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Power of Higher Achievement Mentors

Christa making ice cream with her three scholars, Abby, Alvir and Ryan, during mentoring at Higher Achievement.

Higher Achievement mentors are making things happen! This week, a partnership between Georgetown Cupcake and Higher Achievement was born thanks to the hard work of one dedicated Alexandria mentor.

Christa Koskosky, an Assistant Manager at Georgetown Cupcake, started mentoring at the Alexandria Achievement Center in 2010 and successfully mobilized her company to donate over 1,000 personalized Georgetown Cupcakes for three of Higher Achievement DC Metro’s regional events this year.

“As you can imagine, my scholars were excited to learn that I worked at Georgetown Cupcake and the good news quickly spread throughout Center! I had other scholars asking me if I could bring in cupcakes for their birthday or their mom's birthday or their brother's birthday--it was pretty adorable,” said Christa when asked about her inspiration behind her idea.

“I realized that I couldn't meet all these needs, so I decided to approach the management at Georgetown Cupcake to see if they would be interested in supporting Higher Achievement. Needless to say, they were eager to support an employee who works with such an upstanding and wonderful organization.”

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. A champion of Higher Achievement’s mission, Christa builds awareness around education and middle school youth by mobilizing her personal network in support of Higher Achievement’s mission, always looking for ways to support the organization and its middle school scholars.

Since opening in 2008, Georgetown Cupcake has donated tens of thousands of cupcakes to charitable causes. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and check their community page regularly for information on exciting upcoming fundraisers and events.

Thank you Christa and thank you Georgetown Cupcake!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Five Higher Achievement Scholars Attend International Leadership Camp in Rhode Island

On July 17th, five Higher Achievement scholars departed Washington, DC for Providence, Rhode Island to attend the weeklong Youth United for Global Action and Awareness (YUGA) Leadership Camp. The YUGA Leadership Camp is a peer education program designed to help youth build their leadership skills and gain in-depth knowledge on issues affecting youth around the world. The opportunity was made possible through the generous support of Plan International USA, who reserved five spots for Higher Achievement at no cost to the program or our families.

Johnnie (Ward 6), Destyni (Ward 6), Gabby (Ward 4), Zavier (Ward 1), and Olaoluwa (Ward 1), were chosen for the experience as strong representatives of Higher Achievement and their fellow scholars. Together, these five scholars participated in youth-led workshops on a variety of topics, such as: religious acceptance, HIV/AIDS, and the earthquake in Haiti. In the afternoon, scholars had their choice of more typical camp activities like kayaking, hiking, and arts and crafts.

For many scholars this was a week of firsts: first time away from their family, the first time flying on an airplane, the first time they had to worry about ticks! Although there was uncertainty about what camp would be like, they each returned with smiles on their faces and appreciation for the experience. “I did not think the camp was going to be that fun. I thought we would just sit in a classroom and learn like at school,” said Olaoluwa. “I was so wrong. Camp was amazing and we got to do fun stuff and learn in an interactive way”.

YUGA was more than just a cool experience for these scholars; it truly expanded the lenses through which they view their world: “Camp not only showed me that many people have less than I do, but that I can do many things in my own area to help others”.

At Higher Achievement, we work with scholars to be global citizens who are active participants in their community. The partnership with Plan International USA allowed our scholars to engage more fully in this process, helping them to embark on a great journey of self discovery, pushing them to think about the world outside of their own communities.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baltimore Scholars visit Ober|Kaler Law Offices

This summer, a group of Higher Achievement scholars received a unique opportunity to visit OberKaler Law Offices in Baltimore. Over the summer, sixth grade scholars studied the Bill of Rights as a part of Higher Achievement’s social studies curriculum. Scholars were quick to respond to the lawyer’s questions and impressed the professionals with their knowledge of the law.

Jordan Grissett, a sixth grade scholar from East Baltimore, shared her knowledge of the Eighth Amendment by confidently providing the group an example of cruel and unusual punishment. “It would be like if I stole a candy bar and then got sentenced to 20 years in prison.” Throughout the tour scholars asked lawyers questions about everything from their choice of career path, to their college experiences, to the day-to-day responsibilities at OberKaler.

Scholars received warm welcomes from employees in every department at the law firm as they toured the building. Particularly impressive to the scholars were the massive library, the company’s computer server which took up a full room and the views from individual employee’s offices. At the end of the tour, several scholars expressed interest in exploring law as a future career. One scholar, however, who always thought he wanted to be a lawyer, indicated that the tour had actually made him realize he wanted to pursue another career path.

Sometimes, learning what you don’t want to do can be just as valuable as learning what you do want to do. Higher Achievement exposes scholars to opportunities that ignite their interest and allow them to be thoughtful about their futures.

Higher Achievement Scholars visit Pennsylvania State University

Extensive research shows that more than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be attributed to unequal access to summer learning opportunities. Higher Achievement seeks to close this gap through rigorous, high-quality learning opportunities year-round. The program culminates in a three-day, two-night college trip where scholars attend college classes and stay overnight in student dorms.

This summer, our Alexandria and Ward 1 scholars visited Pennsylvania State University, where they experienced college- level chemistry firsthand. This amazing opportunity would not have been possible without the personal and financial support of Bob and Anne Marshall. Their investment in Higher Achievement has created the opportunities and resources necessary to ensure the success of our scholars – huge thanks to them for their commitment and passion!

Loud controlled explosions and colorful bright lights fill the room Mr. Todd and Mr. Phillip, two scientists from the university, demonstrate and explain a chemical reaction.

Budding scientists!