In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, representatives from the Higher Achievement program and other education reform organizations highlighted programs that are critical to meeting the dynamic needs of students in public education.
Lynsey Wood Jefferies, executive director for Higher Achievement’s DC-Metro affiliate, told the committee that Higher Achievement has been successful in narrowing achievement gaps by providing services and programs for low-income students that break the status quo and prepare them to navigate an increasingly changing world.
Higher Achievement’s year-round program, Jeffries said, includes a multi-year commitment to motivated but underserved middle school children. Features of the program include a rigorous after-school and summer curriculum, three evenings of mentor sessions each week during the school year, a 40-hour per week summer program, and any number of field trips, academic competitions, and group projects. Jeffries reported that 95 percent of students who have completed the program have gotten into top high schools and 93 percent have graduated from college.
“By drawing attention to ‘meeting the needs of the whole student,’ this committee has recognized that although improvements to students’ in-school experience are critical, our students need more. This is especially true for students living in underserved communities. We agree that every student should graduate from high school ready for college and a career,” said Jefferies.
Also testifying were representatives from the Harlem Children’s Zone, which runs its own charter schools as a part of its program, and The Forum for Youth Investment, an organization that engages community leaders to share research and innovative tools to prepare children for a productive adulthood.
Learn more about Higher Achievement and other successful education reforms from around the nation at www.RealizeTheDream.org .