An afterschool nonprofit program will soon be in session in the region’s second-largest school system.
Higher Achievement, a national after-school and summer tutoring and mentorship service for middle school students, recently announced an expansion to Henrico County Public Schools. The organization, which came to the area and Richmond Public Schools in 2010, also operates in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
“Underserved youth are everywhere,” said Tyren Frazier, Higher Achievement’s executive director for the Richmond region. “Henrico was a really good choice to further our impact throughout Richmond.”
The organization recently launched a summer program at L. Douglas Wilder Middle School that employs area college students interested in education to teach and mentor middle school students. The school, in the northeast Henrico County, is considered a Title I institution by the Virginia Department of Education.
A Title I designation describes schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. Higher Achievement targets schools for which at least 70 percent of students receive free or reduced meals. Frazier said both determinants are predictive of schools that could benefit from High Achievement’s programs.
“This program will help bring valuable resources, as well as bring important programming to our students’ middle schools years – a very important time in their academic growth and development,” Dr. Patrick Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools, said in a statement.
Higher Achievement currently operates at Thomas H. Henderson Middle School and T.C. Boushall Middle School. Almost every student in those Richmond City Public schools is eligible for free or reduced meals.
The organization is also opening a third afterschool program within the city at Binford Middle School. The school was also designated a Title I institution for the 2015-16 year.
A $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education partially funds Higher Achievement’s expansion for three years. Frazier said the annual staffing and programming costs for one middle school ranges from $250,000 to $300,000. Students do not have to pay to participate in its programs, Frazier said.
Higher Achievement’s expansion into Henrico County and The Fan will serve an expected 120 additional middle schools students. The program works with 285 area students from fifth through eighth grade.
Higher Achievement’s national audit for 2015 listed government grants providing about a fourth of its total support and revenue, with corporate grants, individual donations, in-kind donations and investments making up the rest. Its local donors include Altria, WestRock and TowneBank.