Educate. Engage. Empower.


“When I first came to Chavez, math was one of my top struggles. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d ever make it to the next grade level when it came to math. However, RISE-DC tutors helped me to understand math on a broader level, and I will be graduating in June and attending my dream college.”

Brianne, a Chavez student who graduated in 2011

Latest News from RISE-DC

RISE-DC: Why We Can’t “Stay in Our Lane”

Every now and then someone who does not know us well will advise us to “stay in our lane.” Most recently these words came from a coach at Anacostia High School. You can read more about it here in my blog, but suffice to say that if we had always stayed in our lane, RISE-DC never would have been founded.

Another “lane changer” we admire is Irasema Salcido, who founded the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy in 1997. Ms. Salcido was a college “first timer,” having grown up in the fields of California, and a recent winner of “Washingtonian of the Year.” The Chavez Schools are now comprised of four schools on three campuses, and RICH has been working with Chavez students at the Capitol Hill campus since 2003. If Ms. Salcido had stayed in her lane, she never would have gone to college.

City Fund Gives RISE-DC Its Highest Award Ever

RISE-DC is proud to announce that the City Fund, which is investing $15 million in new taxpayer dollars "to make the District of Columbia a more healthy, stable, and vibrant place to live for all its residents," has awarded RISE-DC $56,000 to support its programs. The fund "supports effective nonprofits that provide critical services across the city," according to The Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, which administers the fund. RISE-DC would also like to publicly acknowledge the Luther I. Replogle Foundation for its many years of support. The foundation has funded RISE-DC since 2005, longer than anyone.

College Prep Winds Down and Gears Up

Pictured is a group of eleventh graders from Anacostia High School visiting the University of Florida. The group traveled to colleges in southern states during the first week of April as part of RISE-DC’s College Prep program. The students recently met their college mentors for the first time and are in the middle of a three-month SAT prep class. Last year’s group has been accepted to the following colleges they visited: North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, and North Carolina-Central. College acceptance letters are still trickling in.

Celebrating Two Neighborhood Boys

We would like to celebrate two neighborhood boys who are making great progress.

On Christmas day, D, a junior at Anacostia High School, called me to see if I had anything for lunch. A year ago he, with his friend J, was skipping school and smoking marijuana. In the spring, both boys started to turn around, and this fall they each had perfect attendance during the first quarter. The next goal is the honor role.

D is typical. He is smart (a MATHlete, nominated by his freshman teacher for his potential) but not with a lot of direction as he entered high school, He doesn’t know his father and probably never will. None of his parents or adults in his family has a job. J’s situation is similar. His mother does have a job, but at a pay scale 1/3 of what she needs to support all her children. Both boys often visit me for food or homework help or just to chat. Both D and J are part of the Attendance Task Force program, which has helped over 70 students in three years change their attendance habits. J suddenly told me recently, “I didn’t know I was in your program.” I told him that the day I showed up at his house to inquire about his attendance was the day he was in the program.

J’s older brother, R, never learned how to read. We met him three years ago when he was 18. He resisted our attempts to teach him and stopped coming to school. Thanks to you, RISE-DC’s WordSTAR program can now target freshmen who can’t read so that we can get to them before they start dropping out. Some of you met Tyrone, another neighborhood boy, at our opera event this summer. Tyrone was one of those lucky freshmen WordSTARS last year, and he has now raised his reading level from first to fifth grade since we started addressing his reading issues last winter.

You can read more about Tyrone here, in one of the stories in my blog. Some of the stories are sad, but I hope you all are inspired by what our students have overcome. I’m sure the story of D and J is not over.

I like to tell our students that behind me are hundreds of people supporting us with encouragement and energy. Thank you for being RISE-DC’s support system and allowing us to have so much to celebrate this year.