Achievement Plus is a private-public partnership created in 1996 as a joint venture between the Saint Paul Public Schools, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, the city of Saint Paul, and Ramsey County, with additional financial assistance from the state of Minnesota.
Achievement Plus began its initiative at the SPMA in 2008 back when it was known as University Academies for Boys and Girls at North End Elementary School. Beyond SPMA, Achievement Plus operates at John A.Johnson and Dayton’s Bluff elementary schools. The initiative’s primary focus is to raise the achievement level of students through creating community schools where all aspects of students' lives are supported. At SPMA, this means supporting families so they can continue to help their students become future leaders.
Achievement Plus has a three-segment focus – academics, extended learning (after-school program) and learning supports.
- The academic segment is supported through the Saint Paul Public Schools’ Project for Academic Excellence, which provides a rigorous standards-based learning curriculum and staff development opportunities for teachers. PAE was first implemented at the Achievement Plus elementary schools and later implemented in all elementary schools in the district.
- An extended learning program is provided for students in an after-school setting at the Achievement Plus schools, where students needing additional assistance are provided academic and enrichment classes. Teachers in the after-school program (many also teach in the regular daytime program) work to make certain that the curriculum is aligned with the daytime program and that it focuses on the areas in which students need additional help.
- The learning supports segment of the program provides assistance to students, families and community members and is the result of Partnerships with community organizations located on site at SPMA, some with satellite locations at the other Achievement Plus schools. The organizations include: Eastside Family Center, the East Side Learning Center, St. Mary’s Health Clinic, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Children’s Dental Services, and the Wilder Foundation. These organizations support the students and families of John A. Johnson, Dayton’s Bluff and Saint Paul Music Academy in many ways, such as assisting with food and clothing needs, health services, and mental health counseling; assisting with housing needs related to ownership and rental issues; adult language classes; and helping families and community members connect with other needed services that are available at the state and federal levels.