An Achievable Dream (AAD) has received a three-year, $600,000 Hampton Roads Community Foundation grant to help expand AAD into middle school in Virginia Beach.
This fall, the first class of AAD Virginia Beach students, who graduated from Seatack Elementary AAD Academy, now rising sixth-graders, will attend Lynnhaven Middle School where the AAD middle school program will be housed. Plans for a dedicated AAD middle and high school in Virginia Beach will continue to develop. AAD expanded to Virginia Beach in 2014 with kindergarten through second-grade students, adding a grade level per year. The program will continue to follow this expansion model until it serves students in grades K–12.
“The Hampton Roads Community Foundation has provided generous support to AAD at Seatack Elementary, and we are so grateful for their support and vote of confidence as our students progress to middle school,” states Kathy Edwards, AAD president and CEO. “Our partnership with HRCF not only provides financial resources, but valued professional development opportunities and advice.”
Founded in Newport News in 1992, AAD is guided by the belief that all children can learn and succeed given the right tools and opportunity. The organization partners with the school district and local schools to level the playing field for students to prepare them for success in school, college, and career. Currently in Virginia Beach, AAD operates a fully accredited K–5 program in partnership with Seatack Elementary School. The K–12 AAD program in Newport News maintains a 100% on-time graduation rate, and of graduates, 90% attend college or trade school and 10% join the military or enter the workforce.
“We are proud of our partnership with An Achievable Dream and what we have achieved together in Virginia Beach,” says Dr. Aaron Spence, Virginia Beach City Public Schools superintendent. “Our city succeeds when our students succeed. AAD has made a big impact on the lives of students and families and I am thrilled to see the program grow into middle school and beyond.”
The core of AAD’s success is its unique Social, Academic, and Moral Education (SAME®) curriculum that compliments the standard academic curriculum in partner schools. The SAME curriculum consists of six highly structured courses: Speaking Green® (workforce communication), Etiquette, Peaceful Conflict Resolution, Ethics, Mindfulness and Meditation/Healthy Living, and Financial Know-How. At the middle and high school level, the SAME components are integrated into a comprehensive workforce-development program, “What It Takes,” designed to help students master the habits, traits, and behaviors they will need to succeed in employment. The focus on workforce communication, social skills, conflict resolution, and character continues, with emphasis on workforce ethics, personal responsibility, and professional behavior.
“The success of a program like An Achievable Dream is a true community effort,” states Dr. Lee Vreeland, AAD vice president of academics and COO. “For over 25 years, our strong partnerships have allowed us to serve students in Newport News with remarkable success, and since expanding to Virginia Beach we have seen the same outpouring of support from the community. We are thrilled to work with our partners to implement a full K–12 program in Virginia Beach.” Vreeland will assume the role of CEO of An Achievable Dream in September of this year.
About An Achievable Dream:
An Achievable Dream is a nationally recognized educational nonprofit dedicated to the belief that all children can learn and succeed. Operating schools in partnership with Newport News Public Schools, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, and Henrico County Public Schools, An Achievable Dream develops independent, productive citizens through a Social, Academic, and Moral Education (SAME®).