Opened in 2008, Achievement Prep has quickly risen to become one of the highest-performing middle schools in DC and is effectively closing the achievement gap for its scholars within 1-2 years. Current 8th graders at Achievement Prep—where over 80% of students are low-income and 95% are Ward 7 and 8 residents—even outperformed their peers at Deal Middle School in the prosperous Tenleytown area on the 2011 DC-CAS.
As a relatively young school situated in a remote location, Achievement Prep is still a somewhat undiscovered asset in its Ward 8 community. In fact, the school is still working to fill 50 open seats in 4th and 5th grade for next school year—and paradoxically there is deep need for high-quality school options in the very community that Achievement Prep serves: The Mayor's recent IFF study found that DC has a shortage of 39,000 quality seats for kids in DC, with the greatest concentration of those seats in Achievement Prep’s Washington Highlands and Congress Heights neighborhood.
In an effort to build new relationships with families and to thank the community for its support, the school hosted the inaugural Achievement Prep Community Day on Saturday, May 5 in Oxon Run Park. The event celebrated the East of the River Community, highlighted a range of health, social services, and job resources available for residents, and offered an afternoon of Hill Country BBQ, music and activities for children. Parents also had the opportunity to meet the Achievement Prep team and learn more about the school and how to enroll their child.
Founder and Head of School Shantelle Wright’s conviction that all children can learn is backed by a model program and teaching staff that are getting results. Achievement Prep has both a longer school day and year to provide more instruction; this allows for double periods of math and reading as well as small group tutoring opportunities. Achievement Prep also focuses heavily on combating the ‘fourth grade slump,’ the critical point where many low-income children begin to fall farther behind their more affluent peers in reading.
Wright said Achievement Prep’s mission to create a school that changes the life trajectories for children in Southeast DC has attracted the best and brightest teachers, all of whom gather at the school-wide meeting that concludes each day to chant to their scholars: “When you go home tonight, know that you are smart, know that you are brilliant, know that we love you, we think about you all the time, we plan for you all the time, and know that you never, ever cease to amaze us.”
To learn more about Achievement Prep, please click here.