RISE Summer Program is a collaborative six-week summer program created by community partners in Gainesville and Hall County, Ga. that reduces summer learning loss among low-income children through innovative and interactive programming, emphasis on health, nutrition and cultural awareness. Pre and post-testing for participants demonstrate significant improvement – often in the 90th percentile – in math and reading.
The ultimate goal is for RISE students to return to school in the fall specifically prepared for their grade level learning, with a richer knowledge of healthy choices for life. Through RISE, the achievement gap is lessened among low-income and at-risk students, contributing to a stronger and more involved community.
The beginning of RISE
The RISE dream began as question tossed out to a focus group of Brenau University students by William Lightfoot, then Dean of the School of Business & Mass Communications at Brenau University. Lightfoot’s question: “What can we do to help local, lower-income kids with education and hunger?”
“We identified summer learning loss and helping to develop healthy habits as two critical needs – related to one another,” Lightfoot said. “Then we identified the Gainesville Housing Authority (GHA) as a logical partner due to the number of potential children in need.” The group also identified the Hall County Health Department, the Georgia Mountains Food Bank and the Gainesville City School system as potential partners.
GHA provides the Innovation Station, community center on Davis Street, as well as coordinating communications with residents and others regarding RISE. The RISE program furthers the GHA’s goal of helping its residents learn self-sufficiency through motivation and educational offerings.
The program launched in 2012 with 17 students at one location. In 2013, there were 40 students and, in 2014, a second site was added to the summer program at Fair Street Elementary School, and there were 70 students.
RISE: Test Scores Show Positive Results
The purpose of RISE is to prevent summer learning loss, so gains in reading and math skills are an added bonus… In 2018, RISE students did very well:
Reading: 30% maintained, 63% showed growth
Math: 21% maintained, 68% showed growth