Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Higher Achievement E-Newsletter, July 2010

Check out Higher Achievement's latest e-newsletter here!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The More Time Spent on Learning, The More Students Learn

KIPP should be commended for the academic results they generate by offering extended school days and longer school years for their students. The Mathematica Policy research on 22 KIPP schools across the country showed that regardless of race and class, students learn better when more time is devoted to learning and individual attention is given to students. Despite KIPP’s reality, the truth is that not all schools are structured or governed like KIPP.

Many traditional public schools are constrained by factors that limit their capacity and ability to provide a longer school day. This is where community-based programs, like Higher Achievement come into play. Public schools can and should tap into high quality and rigorous community programs that can become their extended learning time partners and help generate the academic results that schools, students, families and the community want. The culture of high expectations, excellence and learning should not just be within the school’s purview; it should be a culture to which every community institution contributes. Young people should experience academic rigor and a culture of high expectation not only in their schools from 8 am to 3 pm, but in their after-school programs, summer programs, museums, libraries, and ultimately in their homes.

Click here to see the Post article on KIPP.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good News from DCPS!

As you may have heard, a lot of good news is being generated from the District of Columbia Public School system and the Public Charter School Board, regarding the academic gains among the city’s high school students. While the upward trend in test scores is due to a myriad of strategies, we at Higher Achievement believe one of those strategies is better prepared middle-school students and more engaged families. With strong supports in middle-school, and placement in top high schools, we work to ensure that all of our children will be career and college ready.

In order for this upward trajectory of success to continue, it is imperative that the community rally behind DCPS and public charter schools. When success is attained, it is far too easy to become complacent. The latest test scores should be only a small glimpse into what is possible. Higher Achievement offers opportunities for community members, funders and future teachers to engage in this movement. By mentoring a child through middle-school, investing in our family and outreach services, and working as a Summer Teacher in an urban district, this glimpse of possibility turns into a sea of opportunity: opportunities to attend top high schools and achieve the academic success we are just starting to see; opportunities to attend college; opportunities to be successful in school – and in life.

DC Leaders Join Higher Achievement in Celebration of the Launch of the New Ward 8 Achievement Center

Yesterday, Higher Achievement celebrated the launch of its new Ward 8 Achievement Center with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. In addition to Higher Achievement’s first class of Ward 8 scholars and their families, community supporters, key program partners, funders, and several DC officials filled Savoy Elementary School’s gymnasium to show their support.

Guest speakers included Council Chairman Vincent Gray, Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry, and Alison Starling of WJLA. Additional speakers were Dr. Shawn Bender (Assistant Principal of Savoy), Jacque Patterson (Federal City Council and Ward 8 Democrats), Peggy O’Brien (Chief of Family and Public Engagement, DCPS) and Sarah Latterner (Executive Office of the Mayor).

The guest speakers collectively spoke to the promise of the Ward 8 community, and how excited they are to see Higher Achievement expand its boundaries in its flagship city. Chairman Gray spoke to the success that Higher Achievement has already seen east of the river at the Ward 7 Achievement Center, while Alison Starling marveled at how good it felt to shed positive light in the news realm.

Dominique Jones, an alumna of Higher Achievement, confidently took the podium and admitted that she was once afraid to show her academic savvy. “With Higher Achievement, I learned that being smart was ok. In fact, it was praised.” Moments before an explosion of applause, Dominique asserted that Ward 8’s new class of scholars were “catalysts for much needed change,” and that she, along with everyone else in the gymnasium, expected great things from the scholars adorned in their bright green Higher Achievement t-shirts.

The ceremony’s highlight was the energetic scholar performances led Higher Achievement staff. Ward 8 Center Director and 1982 Higher Achievement graduate Durya Durham spoke about her vision for the new Achievement Center, and promised that she was preparing scholars to make great academic gains.

Additional Higher Achievement supporters represented the following organizations: DC US Attorney’s Office, US Navy, DCPS, CYITC, Banyan Tree Foundation, Cafritz Foundation, Horning Family Fund, CityBridge Foundation, THE ARC, Local Initiatives Support Coalition and Freddie Mac.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Higher Achievement Baltimore a 2010 Ravens Plan In Motion Grant Recipient!

Baltimore Ravens Provide Nearly $100,000 in Grants to 20 Local Nonprofits Through
2010 Plan in Motion Project

The Ravens All Community Team Foundation (RACTF) has awarded nearly $100,000 in grants to 20 nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In its fourth year, the Ravens’ Plan in Motion project once again provided grants of up to $5,000 for initiating and/or growing programs or projects that promote physical fitness and nutritional education among youth.

The 2010 Plan in Motion grant funding will support a variety of programs, such as Tai Chi classes, Squash clubs, cooking instruction and after school intramurals, all working to encourage healthy youth activities. Projects that received grants for 2010 include: Funding of classes through Girls on the Run of Greater Chesapeake, which combined training for a 5K with self-esteem uplifting workouts; Continued support of the Patterson Area Elementary Soccer League for three Baltimore schools, which will double in size from 2009; Providing the Baltimore County Police Athletic League’s mountain biking program with funds to purchase new equipment for scheduled biking trips; Supporting the Baltimore Fitness Academy, which educates and mentors urban youth to become employed as certified fitness professionals and ambassadors of health in Baltimore; and, Providing scholarships for students to attend Camp Soveya, a summer program that addresses female childhood obesity in the Jewish community.

The Ravens All Community Team Foundation is dedicated to improving and facilitating the healthy development of youth in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland. The Plan in Motion project is designed to encourage healthy youth activities and promote the importance of nutrition and exercise for children. Across the 20 nonprofit organizations, close to 8,000 Baltimore-area youth will benefit from the RACTF grants in the coming year.

Other 2010 Ravens Plan in Motion Grant Recipients include:

Baltimore County PAL (Dundalk and Lansdowne)
Baltimore Fitness Academy
Baltimore Squash Wise
Boys and Girls Club of Harford County
Bridges at St. Paul’s School
Camp Fire USA Baltimore
Camp Soveya
Child First Authority
Dundalk High School
Girls on the Run of Greater Chesapeake
Monte Sanders FIT FAMILIES
Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital
Patterson Public Charter School
Playworks Baltimore
ReWired for Change
Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy
SEED School of Maryland
The Maryland School for the Blind
Wolfe Street Academy, under Baltimore Curriculum Project