Return to Headlines

RPS and the City of Richmond Fulfill Promise to Provide Out-of-School Time Opportunities for Elementary and Middle School Students

All Richmond Public Schools’ middle school and elementary students now have access to out-of-school time opportunities, thanks to a collaboration between RPS, the City of Richmond, and community partners, including NextUp.

“Action 4.8 in Dreams4RPS calls for an increase of out-of-school time opportunities for our students,” said RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to stand before you today to say, not only were we able to increase these opportunities, but we now have out-of-school time programming available for all elementary and middle school students.”

In a press conference held on Thursday, City, community, and school division leaders celebrated the opening of Albert Hill Middle School’s out-of-school time program, operated by NextUp. 

“I’m so proud of our partners, including NextUp, for embracing my goal to universalize access to afterschool programs across Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “When we announced this vision back in the summer of 2018, some said we were too ambitious. Here we are, less than two years later, and every elementary and middle school RPS student has access to a full-service afterschool program either on-site or nearby. That’s real progress.”

NextUp is an expanded-learning system for RPS middle school students that provides safe, high-quality opportunities for students to explore interests, express themselves, make friends, and learn. Participants attend programs at schools and nearby locations at least two days each week, and are provided snacks, dinner, and transportation. Since NextUp’s pilot in 2014, more than 1,600 RPS middle schools have accessed high-quality afterschool learning programming.

“Six and a half years ago, a group of city leaders from both the public and private sectors, came together with an idea to put more middle school youth on a path to success by creating a partnership between the school day and afterschool time,” said Barbara Couto Sipe, CEO and President of NextUp. “Afterschool learning enrichments are a proven way for helping tweens and young teens find their way and stay engaged in school through these years. Our city’s youth are bright, creative, and eager to discover their talents. NextUp’s mission is to make sure that all Richmond middle schoolers have access to quality, engaging programming after the bell rings that keeps them engaged in learning.”