- Expands outreach along Columbia Pike
- Dance and movement classes for all ages
- Aspire! has long record of helping at-risk students
To the direct benefit of Arlington young people, Aspire! Afterschool Learning has reached a 10-year agreement with the County to build out and lease prime space in the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike.
The Letter of Intent (LOI), covering some 9,400 square feet on the Center’s third floor, creates a dedicated environment for after-school academic and summer enrichment programs, along with community dance and movement classes taught by the award-winning Jane Franklin Dance company.
“This is a perfect fit for Arlington Mill and a community that already knows Aspire! well,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “The agreement creates the space and expansive timeframe to take such important work to the next level.”
In the last school year, Aspire!’s flagship program, “Learning ROCKS!,” helped 92 percent of its students improve their reading ability and, more critically, 67 percent of English language learners made significant gains in their English proficiency. Currently the program serves 40 at-risk upper elementary-age students in the immediate area; it will double its reach in the new space.
Aspire!, a 501(c)3 nonprofit formerly known as Greenbrier Learning Center based at Greenbrier Baptist Church, has supported the neighborhood for 20 years. Last year it entered into an initial partnership with the County and began offering after-school programs at Arlington Mill. The focus is on third to fifth graders at risk of falling into the achievement gap.
The series of Jane Franklin Dance movement programs will cover all ages, offering all Arlington residents an education in staying healthy and fit.
The nonbinding LOI gives Aspire!’s capital campaign 18 months to raise the needed funds for construction and leasing. The agreement also makes the Arlington Mill space available for community meetings and other recreation programs.
“We are thrilled to partner with the County and Jane Franklin Dance to expand our space and programs at Arlington Mill,” Aspire! Executive Director Courtney Reeve said. “We look forward to supporting even more students’ academic success, and are excited to be part of this wonderful collaboration to continue serving the Arlington Mill (Columbia Heights West) community.”
In July 2015, Arlington County issued a Request for Expressed Interest, seeking ideas from nonprofits on potential public programming for unoccupied space at Arlington Mill. Five proposals were received and reviewed by a panel composed of County staff and the chair of the Arlington Mill Community Center Steering Committee.
In a collaborative effort, Aspire! and Jane Franklin Dance best met the requirements and selection criteria.