Dozens of Henrico middle schoolers join program to focus on college
Published on July 26, 2016 by Ashley Monfort | bit.ly/2a2bwsG | NBC 12
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Dozens of middle school students in eastern Henrico are spending their summer months inside a classroom, but this isn’t like any other summer school program.
It’s called Higher Achievement, and it’s helping these students get the extra boost they need to be successful.
This program is now available at Douglas Wilder Middle School. The goal is to make sure it benefits middle school students who live in eastern and central Henrico.
Rising sixth grader Aiyanah knows what getting a college degree means for her future.
“I want to get a good job, not a regular job where I can’t support myself as I want to,” says Davis.
It’s the same goal for rising fifth grader Daesha.
“My goal is to go to college and get a degree and be an event planner and an artist,” she said.
These are two of the 60 students in the Higher Achievement program at Wilder Middle School. It’s the first of its kind in Henrico and was celebrated with a ribbon cutting at the school on Tuesday. The goal is to reach out to under-served students during the middle school years.
“Middle school is such a tough period of time for young people,” says Tyren Frazier, the executive director for Higher Achievement. “This is the time they need to commit and engage with their education.”
Having the program at Wilder is significant, because it’s part of the school’s bigger plan to fight back after losing accreditation due to poor SOL scores.
“For some students who need more time and more support, this is a perfect opportunity for them,” says Henrico superintendent Dr. Patrick Kinlaw.
The program is year-round, including hours inside the classroom during the summer months. There is mentoring, homework coaching, field trips and college visits.
“I want to learn everything that I could possibly learn,” says Davis. “Because once you go to middle school, some kids’ grades drop, and I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Organizers say they want to set high standards, especially when these students make the bigger transition to high school and hopefully college. For these students, they’re welcoming the extra motivation.
“I hope it motivates me to continue doing good in school and not make bad choices and hang out with bad people that will hurt me and my future,” says Davis.
The Higher Achievement program is also available in Richmond. Dr. Kinlaw says he hopes to expand it in Henrico County.
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